Starfire Stress: Sounders Through to Quaterfinals on Penalties

Mike Russell

After staying up past our bedtimes, the result left us happier than hearing that The Killing will be getting a season 4.

After 120 minutes of frustration, the Starfire magic was put to perhaps its largest ever test in the form of penalty kicks. Then Gonzalo Pineda, Marco Pappa, Brad Evans, Marcus Hahnemann. Lamar Neagle. 1-1 regulation, 4-1 on Penalties. Our StarFire Prism Power made it look easy. The next victims of that magic will be the Portland Timbers.

The stat sheet indicates utter offensive dominance from the Seattle Sounders. Nearly 20 corner kicks and roughly ten bazillion shots on goal made life difficult for San Jose's back line, while opposing attacks were largely limited to the odd counter. Everyone’s favorite disaster Steven Lenhart was the first to score, but it only took a touch more than a minute for the Sounders to retaliate with a "sweet strike" from Kenny Cooper. Neagle made a run into the box, holding off defenders and onto the ball. He then shuffled it off to a wide open Cooper off to his left, and the big man sent it curling into the side netting, rippling like the Salish Sea.

That the final score wasn't flashier was a testament to reserve keepers Hahnemann and David Bingham. Each keeper made some excellent saves to keep the game level. Neagle in particular would have been cursing Bingham's name in his sleep tonight if he hadn't been the one to put away the clinching penalty in the end. But whereas Bingham had the better game of the two, experience trumped youth when Hahnemann saved one PK and saw another miss wide. The Sounders converted on all four chances.

Lenhart received a yellow card in the 34th minute (one of four 'Quakes cards) for a wayward elbow which made hard contact with the head of Chad Marshall, who has had poor history with concussions in the past (though SURELY Lenhart didn’t know that.) He was taken off in the second half on the edge of receiving a second yellow, replaced by Alan Gordon. Gordon later put the ball literally on the goal’s frame for a miss, a dagger to San Jose’s chances. You COULD say that Lenhart’s overaggressive play cost his team the game.

We’re now looking at a July 9th fixture at Starfire Sports Complex with our most bitter rivals for the first time since both teams have been in MLS. It will be just after a road game in Vancouver and just before the Sounders host the Timbers in front of 67,000 fans at Centurylink Field.

My summary, in three words: Open Cup Dominance

From Press Release:

Sounders FC to Host Portland Timbers in U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinals on July 9

Tickets on sale Thursday at 10 a.m.

SEATTLE, Wash. - Seattle Sounders FC will continue its run at a fourth Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup championship on July 9 with a quarterfinal round match against the Portland Timbers. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. PT at Starfire Stadium in Tukwila, Wash.

Tickets will go on sale Thursday, June 26, at 10 a.m. PT and are available at SoundersFC.com/tickets. Tickets are general admission and priced at $25 for covered grandstand and $20 for uncovered bleachers and standing room only.

Sounders FC advanced to the quarterfinals with a RESULT against the San Jose Earthquakes in the fourth round on Tuesday night while the Timbers earned a 3-1 road victory at Sporting Kansas City.

Sounders FC will attempt to win its fourth championship in six years after reaching the final four straight seasons (2009-12). In 2011, Seattle became the first club in 42 years and fourth altogether to win the Open Cup three consecutive years.

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