The Seattle Sounders play host to the 2011 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final on Tuesday night as they seek a historic win. A victory would give the club three consecutive Open Cup titles, something not accomplished since 1969 by Greek American out of New York (Stix, Baer and Fuller/St. Louis Central Breweries won three in a row from 1933 to 1935). Last year, Seattle defeated the Columbus Crew at home to lift the trophy for a second year in a row and became the first team to accomplish that feat since MLS entered clubs in the competition in 1996.
FIRE FOR FIVE?: The Chicago Fire, already just one of four clubs to win the U.S. Open Cup four times, will try to join Bethlehem Steel (1915, 1916, 1918, 1919, 1926) and Maccabi Los Angeles (1973, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1981) as the only clubs to win the title five times. Frank Klopas will be on the sideline attempting to lead his players to the title he won in 1998 after he memorably scored an overtime winner to seal a historic double in the club’s inaugural season. The Fire have made a huge push for the MLS Playoffs in recent weeks and have not lost in official competition since Sept. 10. They will need to be at their best to defeat the hosts in front of what promises to be an incredible atmosphere.
ABOUT THE LAMAR HUNT U.S. OPEN CUP: Dating back to 1914, the U.S. Open Cup is the oldest cup competition in United States soccer and is among the oldest in the world. Open to all affiliated amateur and professional teams in the United States, the annual U.S. Open Cup is a 98-year-old single-elimination tournament. In a nutshell, the U.S. Open Cup is very similar to domestic cup competitions popular throughout Europe, South America and the rest of the world. Cup competitions, which usually run concurrent with a country’s league season, are open in the early stages to any club that can qualify, giving local amateur teams a chance to compete against the best teams a country has to offer. In 1999, the U.S. Open Cup was renamed the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup to honor the long-time soccer supporter and pioneer.
FOX SOCCER TO TELEVISE FINAL: The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final returns to Fox Soccer and Fox Sports en Español live at 7 p.m. PT. JP Delacamera will be calling the action alongside Kyle Martino, with Brian Dunseth providing insight from the sideline. Eric Wynalda and Chris Sullivan will handle hosting duties from the on-field set. Fans can also follow online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.
Tuesday’s match will conclude the 98th edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
The home team is 10-3-0 in U.S. Open Cup finals since MLS began participating in the tournament in 1996. The 2003 Chicago Fire, 2007 New England Revolution and 2009 Seattle Sounders are the only road teams to win a final. Two finals, 1997 and 1999, were played at neutral sites.
This will be the second time the Open Cup Final has been played in the state of Washington, following last year’s tussle.
The U.S. Open Cup Final has gone into overtime four times since 1996.
A total of 63 different teams have won the U.S. Open Cup, with the Sounders the most recent first-time winners in 2009.
Three MLS teams have won the “double” – winning the MLS and U.S. Open Cups in the same year. The Galaxy were the last team to achieve that distinction back in 2005, while the 1998 Chicago Fire and 1996 D.C. United also won both.
The Sounders are currently in the running for four trophies – The MLS Supporters Shield for the league’s best regular season record, the MLS Cup, the CONCACAF Champions League and the U.S. Open Cup.
The home team is 27-9-2 in the 2011 competition, with the home teams winning one and losing one in shoot-outs. Last year, the home teams went 28-7-3 with the visiting teams winning all three shoot-outs.
One hundred and twelve goals have been scored in the 2011 Open Cup, up slightly from the 106 that were scored at this same stage last year.
There were 20 shutouts during 2011 tournament (two fewer than in 2010), and just two 0-0 ties.
Richmond, the only USL PRO team to reach the quarterfinals, earned the $10,000 prize for the Division III club advancing the furthest in this year’s tournament.
The Chicago Fire PDL, having won two games against sides from the same division in earlier rounds, won the $10,000 Amateur Division prize via a tiebreaker over the Kitsap Pumas, who won one and tied one (games resolved via penalties are recorded as ties).
The winner of the final will receive $100,000 in prize money, while the runner-up will get $50,000.
Frank Klopas will try to become the first manager since Tom Soehn to win the title as player and as a head coach. Soehn won the Open Cup in 1997 with the Dallas Burn and 1998 with the Chicago Fire before guiding D.C. United to the title in 2008. Klopas won the Open Cup as Soehn’s teammate in 1998.
Alex Prus will be the Referee for Tuesday’s match with Steven Taylor and Eric Boria running the lines as Assistant Referees. The fourth official will be Josh Wilkens.
The Chicago Fire have a remarkable 17 draws this season, but the U.S. Open Cup Final will not end in a tie. Overtime rules: If the match is tied at the end of regulation, two 15-minute overtime periods will be played. If at the end of these periods the score is tied, the champion will be decided with penalty kicks.
Unlike MLS matches, only one assist is counted in the official records.
A CLOSER LOOK: SEATTLE SOUNDERS
Head Coach: Sigi Schmid
2011 U.S. Open Cup Record: 3-0-0
All-Time Open Cup Final Record: 2-0
2011 MLS Record: 16-6-9, 57 points (Second in the Western Conference)
2011 Leading Scorers: Fredy Montero (15 and 10 assists in all competitions); Alvaro Fernandez (10 goals and 5 assists in all competitons)
2011 Open Cup Leading Scorers: Fredy Montero (2 goals), Mike Fucito (2 goals), Nate Jaqua, Lamar Neagle
Last Outing: 2-1 win against New England on Oct. 1 in Foxborough, Mass.
2011 Open Cup Game-By-Game
Date Round Opponent Result Location
June 28 3 Kitsap Pumas (PDL) 2-1 W Starfire Sports Complex; Tukwila, Wash.
July 13 QF LA Galaxy (MLS) 3-1 W Starfire Sports Complex; Tukwila, Wash.
Aug. 20 SF FC Dallas (MLS) 1-0 W Starfire Sports Complex; Tukwila, Wash.
Seattle has played all three of its U.S. Open Cup matches at home, but the Final will be the first game at CenturyLink Stadium. The three previous wins came at the Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila, Wash. For the second year in a row, Seattle took down the LA Galaxy in the quarterfinal round.
Seattle’s MLS home record is 8-3-4 so far this year.
Three of Seattle’s last four regular season MLS matches will be at home.
The Sounders and Fire have completed their two-game home-and-home regular season set this year with the Sounders winning 2-0 at home on April 9 and drawing 0-0 at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill., on June 4. The teams also played an exhibition in the pre-season with Seattle winning, 1-0.
Four players have scored Seattle’s six goals in the tournament this far with forward Mike Fucito tallying both in the third round match-up with Kitsap Pumus. Nate Jaqua, Freddy Montero and Lamar Neagle scored in the quarterfinal win over the Galaxy while Montero tallied the lone goal in the 1-0 victory against Dallas in semifinal.
2011 will mark the fourth time a Seattle-based club has competed in the final of the U.S. Open Cup. Before the Sounders’ last two Open Cup titles, the last club from the Emerald City to make the final was the Mitre Eagles in 1987. Twenty-four years ago the Eagles fell to Club España, from Washington, D.C., after a 3-2 penalty shootout following a 0-0 draw.
Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid previously managed Columbus Crew from 2006-2008, winning MLS Cup with the Crew in 2008 before leaving for Seattle where he has twice won the Open Cup.
Last week, Seattle became the first (and so far only) MLS team to clinch a berth in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League next spring with a 2-2 tie at Comunicaciones in Guatemala.
Freddy Montero leads MLS in shots with 99 and is tied for first in shots on goal with 40. He is coming off a brace in a 2-1 victory over New England on the weekend.
A CLOSER LOOK: CHICAGO FIRE
Interim Head Coach: Frank Klopas
2011 U.S. Open Cup Record: 3-0-0
2011 Open Cup Leading Scorers: Dominic Oduro (2 goals)
All-Time Open Cup Final Record: 4-1
2011 MLS Record: 7-8-16, 37 points (Seventh place, Eastern Conference)
2011 Leading Scorer: Dominic Oduro (14 goals in all competitions)
Last Outing: 1-1 tie with Houston Dynamo on Oct. 1
2011 Open Cup Game-By-Game
Date Round Opponent Result Location
June 28 3 Rochester Rhinos (D-2) 1-0 W Sahlen’s Stadium, Rochester, N.Y.
July 12 QF New York Red Bulls 4-0 W Toyota Park, Bridgeview, Ill.
Aug. 30 SF Richmond Kickers (USL Pro) 2-1 W Toyota Park, Bridgeview, Ill.
The Chicago Fire have won one U.S. Open Cup game on the road and two at home, including a blow-out of the New York Red Bulls in the quarterfinal and a narrow 2-1 semifinal victory over the only non-MLS quarterfinalist, the Richmond Kickers. The Kickers defeated Sporting KC to get to the final four.
Chicago’s away record in MLS this year is 2-6-7.
For the second consecutive year, Chicago defeated the Rochester Rhinos in the quarterfinals. In 2010 the win came at Toyota Park and in 2011 the Fire repeated their winning result at the Rhinos’ Sahlen’s Stadium in 2011.
The Fire are the most successful MLS club in the U.S. Open Cup, winning four times (1998, 2000, 2003, 2006) and finishing runner-up to Kansas City in 2004.
The Fire’s first U.S. Open Cup title in 1998 feature a sudden-death game-winner from current interim head coach Frank Klopas, who entered the game for overtime in the 91st minute and scored in the 99th to end the game. That match also featured current MLS head coaches Peter Nowak (Philadelphia Union) and Jesse Marsch (Montreal Impact) playing for the Fire and Robert Warzycha (Columbus Crew) playing for the team he now manages.
The expansion Fire won the double that year under first-year head coach Bob Bradley, who also won the U.S. Open Cup in 2000.
The Fire also won Open Cup titles in 2003 and 2006 under current Los Angeles assistant coach Dave Sarachan.
Illinois has a rich history in the U.S. Open Cup with Chicago Sparta (1938, 1940), Chicago Viking F.C. (1946), A.A.C Eagles (1990), and Falcons S.C. (1953) also winning titles.
Four out of the five U.S. Open Cup Finals played by the Fire have been one-goal affairs. The Fire defeated the Columbus Crew 2-1 in 1998, defeated the Miami Fusion 2-1 in 2000, defeated the MetroStars 1-0 in 2003 and lost to Kansas City 1-0 in 2004. In 2006, the Fire defeated the LA Galaxy 3-1.
The Fire had to play a qualifying match to get into the main draw of the U.S. Open Cup and defeated the San Jose Earthquakes on penalty kicks (5-4), after coming back from two goals down to get scores from Orr Barouch in the 61st minute and Yamith Cuesta in the 76th as regulation ended in a 2-2 draw.
SOUNDERS, FIRE PLAYERS OPEN CUP SCORING IN 2011: Representatives from Seattle and Chicago have accounted for 13 of the 112 total goals scored in the 2011 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
Seattle Sounders FC
Mike Fucito 2 0 4
Fredy Montero 2 0 4
Nate Jaqua 1 2 3
Lamar Neagle 1 0 2
Alvaro Fernandez 0 2 2
Pat Noonan 0 1 1
Dominic Oduro 2 0 4
Diego Chaves 1 1 3
Orr Barouch 1 0 2
Yamith Cuesta 1 0 2
Sebastián Grazzini 1 0 2
Gonzalo Segares 1 0 2
Patrick Nyarko 0 1 1
Marco Pappa 0 1 1
Daniel Paladini 0 1 1
HISTORY OF THE DEWAR CUP: While the trophy no longer travels to the U.S. Open Cup Final, the name of the winning team is added to the bottom of the Dewar Trophy following an Open Cup title. The oldest trophy in United States team sports history was donated to the American Amateur Football Association in 1912 by Sir Thomas R. Dewar, a British distiller, sportsman and philanthropist during an AAFA (now United States Amateur Soccer Association) visit to London prior to the 1912 Olympics. The trophy was originally purchased for $500 and given in the hope of promoting soccer in the United States and in the name of Anglo-American friendship. The cup was first awarded to the Yonkers Football Club (N.Y.) in 1912 after they defeated the Hollywood Inn Football Club (N.Y.) at the Lennox Oval in New York City. The trophy was officially adopted as the U.S. Open Cup trophy prior to the Brooklyn Field Club’s inaugural championship in 1914 in Pawtucket, R.I. The trophy was retired in 1979 but was refurbished by the USASA in 1997 and was presented to the 1997 and 1998 Open Cup winners.
THREE-PEAT PURSUIT: Last year, the Sounders became the first teams since 1983 to win back-to-back titles, following the New York Pancyprian-Freedoms (1982 and 1983). Seattle can match the New York Greek-Americans (1967-69), St. Louis Central Breweries/Stix, Baer & Fuller (1933-35) and Fall River Marksmen/New Bedford Whalers (1930-32) as the only teams to have accomplished the feat of winning three trophies in a row.
2010 U.S. OPEN CUP REWIND: When the 2011 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup began on June 14, there were 40 teams with the goal of making it to the Open Cup final. Below are a list of the teams that qualified for the U.S. Open Cup, including eight MLS teams and 11 USL Pro teams.
2011 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Participants:
MLS (8 teams): Chicago Fire, Columbus Crew, FC Dallas, LA Galaxy, New York Red Bulls, Real Salt Lake, Seattle Sounders, Sporting Kansas City
USL Pro (11 teams): Charleston Battery, Charlotte Eagles, Dayton Dutch Lions, Harrisburg City Islanders, Los Angeles Blues, F.C. New York, Orlando City, Pittsburgh Riverhounds, Richmond Kickers, Rochester Rhinos, Wilmington Hammerheads
Premier Development League (9 teams): Carolina Dynamo, Central Florida Kraze, Chicago Fire Premier, Chivas El Paso Patriots, Kitsap Pumas, Reading United, Real Colorado Foxes, Ventura County Fusion, Western Mass Pioneers
National Premier Soccer League (4 teams): Brooklyn Italians, Chattanooga FC, Hollywood United Hitmen, Madison 56ers
USASA (8 teams): A.A.C. Eagles, Doxa Italia, DV8 Defenders, Iowa Menace, ASC New Stars, New York Pancyprian-Freedoms, Phoenix SC, Regals FC
*Prize winners at each level are in bold