Success! The Seattle Sounders defeated the Chicago Fire 2-0 to win the U.S. Open Cup for a third straight year. I admit I had my moments of doubt. Their defense almost seemed prescient in their ability to intercept passes and shots. Luckily, Fredy Montero scored the go-ahead goal just when I was mentally preparing for a grueling overtime. Osvaldo Alonso put it out of reach late with a great bit of individual skill. Finally, I can't help but mention the amazing atmosphere. ECS once again brought their A-game with a huge tifo display and it wasn't just GA getting into the act. The rest of the crowd was also cheering and standing for the whole match.
I honestly wish everyone could have made it out for the game. I've attended a game or two here and abroad, but this is far and away the best soccer experience I've ever had. For those of you there in spirit if not in body you can see more match highlights, the victory celebration and photos at the Sounders website. Oh, and if that isn't enough, even more photos (and Sigi Schmid celebrating). And the mighty Mike Fucito roar just because it's cool.
Sounders Secure in Second: Real Salt Lake lost again this week to a surprisingly competent Vancouver Whitecaps team. A couple of bad calls by the official helped to seal the game for the undermanned RSL side. One note of concern for Sounders fans was Javier Morales return to the starting line-up. On the upside the RSL lose means that the Seattle Sounders are almost guaranteed the 2nd spot in the Western Conference. They will likely be hosting the second leg of the two game series and retain home-field advantage should the Los Angeles Galaxy be knocked out in the first round. The Sounders remain (barely) alive in the hunt for the Supporter's Shield. However, the Sounders must win out their remaining games while the Galaxy need to implode.
More after the jump:
Chuck Blazer Out: Chuck Blazer the acting secretary general of CONCACAF and Rubeus Hagrid impersonator will be resigning at the end of the year. Blazer is best known in the United States for making influence peddling and corruption sexy again. He was at the heart of a corruption scandal earlier this year involving former CONCACAF president Jack Warner and former Asian Confederation president Mohamed bin Hammam. Both were expelled from FIFA for bribing Caribbean voters in the FIFA presidential election. Blazer was also reportedly under FBI investigation earlier this summer for questionable payments made to his off-shore accounts. The modern day Nucky Johnson will remain on FIFA's executive committee until at least 2013.
DC Shows Academy Strength: DC United may have one of the worst stadium situations in MLS, but their Academy system continues to be the most successful in MLS (as judged not scientifically by me). Their top ten contributors by minutes played include home-grown players Bill Hamid, Andy Najar and Ethan White. And the pipeline of young academy players remains full. Christhyan Najar - the brother of Andy Najar and member of the U-15 academy team- scored the only goal in the recent reserve league game against the New York Red Bulls. Also playing on the reserve team were academy players Bradley Vorv, Patrick Foss, and Jannik Eckenrode.
Estrada in the Spotlight: I admit I had mentally placed David Estrada into the 'draft-bust' category right up until the recent match against the New England Revolution. Estrada had a very good match and it seems clear he's still in Sigi Schmid's plans. I guess it goes to show how incredibly deep this team is. I wonder if we'll see Mike Seamon pop-up again before the end of the season?
Salgado Not Very Happy: I think most of us were expecting Omar Salgado to get plenty of minutes for the Vancouver Whitecaps. Sadly the 1st round draft choice is having a hard time breaking into the Caps reserve team games. He was eclipsed in yesterday's game by Long Tan. That's gotta hurt.
Meet the Women Cougars: Washington State recently put their women's soccer team up in a flashy online magazine. Pretty cool tech and worth a look if you're into college sports or an alumnus.
No Rio for You: In case you were wondering...Rio Ferdinand is not going to sign with the Fire.