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U.S. Open Cup Semifinal: Sounders Highlights, Statistics, Quotes

"We were, I think, a little bit intimidated by the whole event." - Schellas Hyndman, FC Dallas coach

Let that quote sink in for a bit. That's the coach of a team that just went to Mexico City and beat the defending Mexican Primera champs, suggesting that his team was intimidated by the setting of the U.S. Open Cup semifinal at Starfire Sports Complex. Seattle Sounders fans: Pat yourselves on the back.

I've been to four U.S. Open Cup games at Starfire, and Tuesday's was easily the most exciting. The crowd was as revved up as I've ever seen, and I don't doubt for a second that Hyndman is speaking the truth here. At some point, you have to imagine something is going to give with Starfire -- either it will be expanded or the team will realize they are just leaving too much money on the table to continue to host important games like this there -- but right now, it has to be the greatest home-field advantage in North American soccer.

As dominant as the Sounders looked during the first 45 minutes, whatever advantage they gained from the crowd was largely nullified in the second half. FC Dallas had the much better run of play and probably should have scored on at least one of their numerous chances. The Sounders were actually outshot 11-2 in the second half, and aside from a couple Mike Fucito runs, rarely looked dangerous.

Some of that could very well be due to the increased physical nature of the game as it wore on. The highlights really don't do this aspect justice, but the second half was brutal. It's pretty amazing that both teams left the field with 11 men because any number of players could have been ejected from both sides. Over the last week, the Sounders had been kinda spoiled with some quality officiating, but this was not one of those games.

No matter, the Sounders are moving to their third straight U.S. Open Cup final. They take a 12-0-1 all-time record and 10-0-0 at home -- including qualifying -- into the match against the Chicago Fire on Oct. 4. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, this is shaping up to be a special season.


Goals by Period




FC Dallas




Seattle Sounders




Scoring Summary:        

SEA -- Fredy Montero (Alvaro Fernandez) 40

FC Dallas-- Kevin Hartman, Jair Benitez (Jack Stewart 89), Jeremy Hall, Ugo Ihemelu, Andrew Jacobson, Daniel Hernandez, Daniel Cruz (George John 46), Marvin Chavez, Brek Shea, Ricardo Villar (Jackson 64), Maicon Santos.

Substitutes Not Used: Victor Ulloa, Bobby Warshaw, Andrew Wiedeman, Chris Seitz

TOTAL SHOTS: 14 (Marvin Chavez 6); SHOTS ON GOAL: 1 (Maicon Santos 1); FOULS: 14 (5 tied with 2); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 4 (Daniel Hernandez 2, Ricardo Villar 2); SAVES: 3 (Kevin Hartman 3)

Seattle Sounders -- Kasey Keller, Zach Scott, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez, Mauro Rosales, Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Alvaro Fernandez (Lamar Neagle 84), Fredy Montero (James Riley 89), Pat Noonan (Mike Fucito 66).

Substitutes Not Used: Erik Friberg, Nate Jaqua, Tyson Wahl, Josh Ford

TOTAL SHOTS: 13 (3 tied with 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (Brad Evans 2); FOULS: 16 (Leo Gonzalez 4); OFFSIDES: 2 (Fredy Montero 1, Pat Noonan 1); CORNER KICKS: 4 (Mauro Rosales 4); SAVES: 1 (Kasey Keller 1)

Misconduct Summary:

DAL -- Daniel Cruz (caution; Reckless Foul) 12

DAL -- Daniel Hernandez (caution; Dissent) 22

SEA -- Leo Gonzalez (caution; Tactical Foul) 35

SEA -- Brad Evans (caution; Reckless Tackle) 58

DAL -- Ricardo Villar (caution; Reckless Tackle) 63

DAL -- Maicon Santos (caution; Dissent) 63

DAL -- Daniel Hernandez (ejection; Abusive Language) 94+

Referee: Hilario Grajeda

Referee's Assistants:-Mike Rottersman; Paul Scott

4th Official: Jeff Hosking

Attendance: 4,593

Time of Game: 1:53

Weather: Partly Cloudy-and-68-degrees

All Statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficialTop of Form

POSTGAME QUOTES: Sounders FC vs. FC Dallas

Sigi Schmid - Sounders FC Head Coach

(On the win and going to the U.S. Open Cup Final...) "Obviously we scored a good goal. It was a great goal by Freddy Montero. I thought in the first half we were the better team-we had more chances. In the second half they were more aggressive, they played forward a little quicker, played with a little bit of desperation that we didn't always handle well and didn't really counter as well as we needed to take advantage of that. In the end we're happy with the 1-0 win. We're happy to get to our third final."

(On Fredy Montero's goal...) "It's been a while since he scored. I thought he was a little unlucky because he almost got on the end of another one. Obviously the bicycle kick was one that he just barely missed, so he could have three tonight with a little bit better luck."

(On what winning a third U.S. Open Cup would mean to the team...) "It means a lot. We always want to put trophies in there and to be a team to three-peat is something we've got to be proud of because these games are one and done. It's not like we had a bad game, let's come back next week and regroup. So, I'm very proud of what our team has done."

(On the last two week stretch...) "It's been great because, like I said, we've won games different ways. We've won games by scoring goals. We've won a game by playing a man down and scoring goals, and we've won games by being able to defend with a lot of resolve and win 1-0. Winning in Mexico at Monterrey was certainly a great highlight, as well."

(On the level of competition in the U.S. Open Cup...) "I think teams are more into the competition now because they know it brings with it an opportunity to play in the Champions League. Last year, everybody saw the notoriety that Salt Lake got from getting as far as they did in the Champions league, so everyone wants to grab a piece of that. I think the Champions League competition has increased as well in terms of its visibility in our region. As a result of that this tournament has taken on a bigger weight, as well."

(On Chicago, their opponent in the U.S. Open Cup Final...) "I'm not going to worry about that for a while. Obviously we had a couple of close games with them. They're a team that seems to be on a good run now [...] It's taken Frank Klopas a while to change his team around a little bit and get it working the way he wanted it to work. They're going to be a dangerous team-they've got good speed, they've got some talented players."

(On if he would have rather seen Richmond...) "I don't care. I never worry about who we're going to play, just that we get there."

(On the good defensive play of Zach Scott and Leo Gonzalez...) "I thought in the first half, especially so. I though Zach did a good job on Brek [Shea] and won some headers there which was really important. As a result you saw in the first half Brek switched over the other wing pretty early on. I thought Leo, as well, did a good job. Second half it wasn't as composed as I would have liked but sometimes games just take on a personality like that."

Kasey Keller - Sounders FC Goalkeeper

(On the match...) "Yeah, I feel great. We did everything we could to try and throw it away at the end, but somehow we survived. We should have been up three-nil and we almost paid the price by not taking advantage of the chances that we got. But saying that, somehow we hung on and got the win. Another great crowd here at Starfire. We keep that undefeated streak here alive and get back to play another (Open Cup) final, which is tremendous. Great play and now we can go see a huge crowd for another Open Cup."

(On playing the final at CenturyLink Field...) "It'll be a big crowd, I'm sure. We're so happy, obviously. The organization has this facility to be able to bid so we get these good home games, which makes a big, big difference for us. Thanks to them and now hopefully we can reward everybody with our third (Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup victory) in a row."

(On what went wrong in the second half...) "It's more than that, it's not just our defense letting down. We let them come at us. We let them. We didn't step up and put pressure on them when we should have. We relaxed and we dropped back into flat positions and we just didn't compete how we could have. And it's a shame because we had played so well for about 70 minutes and then the last 20 minutes we just stopped playing. We had some interesting calls, but in the end the result is what's important. Maybe a year and a half ago, maybe two years ago, we might have let this game slip. But right now we're in good form, we're getting those breaks when we need them - they crushed one off the post -- and you need that to get into the finals. We had that going for us today."

Fredy Montero - Sounders FC Forward

(On returning to the Finals for the third-straight year...) "It's definitely very motivating and we're all very happy. Thanking God also, because it's not every team that can experience something like that three times in a row."

(On his bicycle kick that missed and his subsequent game-winning goal...) "I keep working. Luckily the second one from the distant position got in and gave us a spot in the final."

(On whether he felt anxious to score a goal, after a few scoreless outings...) "Not really. One cannot predict when that will happen. The good thing is that the team is working united, all deserving those situations. We know that when something like that happens, it's not the end."

Alvaro Fernandez - Sounders FC Midfielder

(On Fredy Montero's goal...) "It was a good play in the midfield. I managed to catch the ball and noticed Fredy (Montero) get position and I passed the ball. He got a very good finish on the ball and it was a great goal."

Schellas Hyndman - FC Dallas Head Coach

(On the difference makers in the game...) "Montero's goal was a great goal.  We had quite a few chances in the first half.  We were, I think, a little bit intimidated by the whole event.  I think a lot of things weren't going our way and I think we just kind of got wrapped up.  But it was a great goal by Montero."

(On what factors were not going FC Dallas' way...) "I think we were losing a lot of possession.  We weren't getting a lot of scoring opportunities.  It seemed like a lot of calls were going against us.  There was a lot of play going both ways, and I just didn't think we put enough pressure on them."

(On whether fatigue played a factor...) "I don't think our guys really had a problem with fitness, so I would hate to think that fatigue was an issue."

(On his halftime changes and how that changed the game...) "We went into a 4-4-2.  We felt like the game wasn't in the midfield; it was a bit chippy in the midfield, so what we wanted to do was get Marvin Chavez more into the attack.  I thought he really livened up and created a lot of problems for [Zach] Scott.  He hit the post when he went in one-on-one, and then he had a great chance to finish it there at the end of the game on pretty much an open goal.  I thought that going into the 4-4-2 helped us get a little bit more balanced attack, which I think kept Seattle back a little bit more."

(On Breck Shea leaving for the National Team...) "He's going to be gone during the time that we're going to be taking a break.  We have Tigres coming in on Saturday and then we play the following Saturday.  My understanding is that Breck will meet us in New England when we arrive there."

(Continued...) "It's an opportunity well-deserved.  He's playing extremely well.  I think he's one of the best left-sided midfielders in the country.  Today, it just wasn't a real easy day to get your foot on the ball."

(On what he told his team...) "I talked to the team and my thing was 'You know what, sometimes the ball just doesn't bounce right for you.'  We had some scoring chances that we didn't convert on.  I'm thinking the three games that we played against Seattle were all 1-0 games.  This was a difficult game.  It was a bit of a smaller field and a little bit more intimidating.  [Century Link] Field, you've got 10 times more fans, but they're a bit more removed from you."

(On whether the crowd was a factor, and his thoughts on the way the Open Cup is currently organized...) "I think the crowd is a great motivator.  For me, this is one of the best events - the Lamar Hunt Open Cup - but I'd really like to see it into a structure where it's not a bid system.  A bid system is where one team will buy the games because they're bidding higher.  I think 20 years ago, the college game was the same thing.  It could go to the higher seeds, instead of a bid system where you're spending money, or it could be pre-determined.  I think that brings out all the fairness to the event."

(On how his team feels after tonight...) "This is not the way we wanted to end the Open Cup, but we also are excited about having a week and a half off."

Kevin Hartman - FC Dallas Goalkeeper

(On the difference maker tonight and his team's performance overall...) "One goal.  I don't know.  I thought the first half, we certainly had some issues, in terms of our defensive shape and competing for second balls.  I thought some of the changes we made at halftime certainly put us in a position to tie up the game.  I know Marvin hit the post once.  There was a play toward the end of the game when somebody had a shot from maybe four or five yards out that was blocked and then Marvin had a follow-up.  I think when we didn't see either one of those go in we kind of felt like it might not be our night.  You've got to give credit to Seattle.  They play really well on the turf, and they compete.  It's not necessarily conducive to the type of game that we like to play.  But we're a team that doesn't like to give up.  We're a team that continues to compete.  I thought even through the 93rd minute, we were really putting them under pressure.  I think that we're a team that really has ambitions and wants to win championships and unfortunately tonight we just weren't able to get the result.

(On what it means to the team to lose the Open Cup semifinal...) "We haven't had an opportunity to train in about two months.  We've been playing a game every three days.  I think that was the 16thgame we've played in two months, so we're playing a game every two or three days.  The extra 45 minutes in Toronto where they took away our goal and we had to start over again was another bit of adversity that we had to overcome.  But I think that we keep things in perspective and hopefully the fans do as well.  I think that we're in really good shape in terms of the Champions League right now.  Certainly we would love to be in the championship game of the U.S. Open Cup, but we're in pretty good shape within league and now that we'll have an opportunity to kind of adjust and get Jeremy kind of situated in the right back spot.  Zach [Loyd] might be coming back.  And then you have George John, who's somebody who obviously had a weird week and get him slotted back in there, push [Andrew Jacobson] in the midfield so that we have so many guys who are competing for the second balls, which was obviously an issue in the first half."

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