This has been a crazy year for the U.S. Open Cup. Eight MLS teams have already lost to lower-division teams.
The Seattle Sounders weren't going out like that.
After a somewhat contentious first 40-odd minutes in which the Sounders wasted their chances and gave up a few too many of their own to, an Andy Rose rocket relieved much of the pressure. His goal in the 44th minute sent the Sounders into halftime with a 1-0 lead and it was just a matter of time until they broke the game open. Osvaldo Alonso and Alex Caskey added single tallies and Sammy Ochoa scored his first two competitive goals of the season as the Sounders cruised to a 5-1 victory over the Atlanta Silverbacks.
It wasn't necessarily a complete performance, but it was exactly what you'd expect from a three-time defending U.S. Open Cup champion who's facing a team that's winless in their league.
The Sounders will now try to do the same thing to Cal FC, who will be Tuesday's fourth-round opponent.
Goals by Period
Seattle Sounders FC
SEA - Andy Rose (Marc Burch) 44'
SEA - Osvaldo Alonso (Cordell Cato) 46'
ATL - Reinaldo Navia (Shane Moroney) 53'
SEA - Alex Caskey 54'
SEA - Sammy Ochoa (Osvaldo Alonso) 62'
SEA - Sammy Ochoa 66'
Seattle Sounders FC: Bryan Meredith, Zach Scott, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Marc Burch, Cordell Cato, Osvaldo Alonso (Servando Carrasco 72), Andy Rose, Alex Caskey, Sammy Ochoa (Roger Levesque 70), Eddie Johnson (David Estrada 46).
Substitutes Not Used: Andrew Weber, Brad Evans, Fredy Montero, Christian Sivebaek.
TOTAL SHOTS: (); SHOTS ON GOAL: (); FOULS: (); OFFSIDE: (); CORNER KICKS: (); SAVES: ().
Atlanta Silverbacks: Joe Nasco, Shane Moroney, Martyn Lancaster, Jose Burciaga Jr., Rafael Cox, Tony McManus (Jordan Davis 84), Ciaran O'Brien, Danilo Turcois, Borfor Carr (David Santamaria 72), Matt Horth, Reinaldo Navia.
Substitutes Not Used: Daniel Illyes, Lucas Paulini, Willie Hunt, Nico Colaluca, Lindemar Ferreira.
TOTAL SHOTS: (); SHOTS ON GOAL: (); FOULS: (); OFFSIDE: (); CORNER KICKS: (); SAVES: ().
ATL - Reinaldo Navia (caution) 60'
SEA - Marc Burch (caution) 60'
ATL - Jordan Davis (caution) 88'
Referee: Josh Wilkins
Referee's Assistants: Ron Lagraff, Jeremy Hanson
4th Official: Chipalo Street
Time of Game: 7:09
Weather: Partly Cloudy and 64 degrees
All Statistics contained in the boxscore are unoffical.
Postgame Quotes: Sounders FC vs. Atlanta Silverbacks
Sigi Schmid - Sounders FC Head Coach
(On the result...) "It's always a lot more fun when you score goals. It makes it a lot easier getting the goal early in the second half helped us. And then the response when we got the third goal - [Alex] Caskey's response to their goal right away I think is really what finished the game off. Then after that we were a little bit unlucky not to get more. Their keeper came up with some big saves, [Cordell] Cato hits the post - he probably deserved a goal for his effort tonight. But I was pleased with what the guys did and it was good to see them score goals."
(On the first half of play...) "Well, we got chances. I think Eddie Johnson had a really good look on a ball by [Cordell] Cato. We had the one that Ozzie [Alonso] hit - the question was whether the goalkeeper touched the ball out of the box or inside the box on that one, but that was definitely going. We had a couple opportunities as well where we were around and our shots, or just our final pass weren't that good. But we were putting pressure on and definitely you just felt it was a matter of time."
(On Sammy Ochoa making the most of his minutes tonight...) "Definitely. Obviously, Ochoa - I don't know if he can remember the last time he scored two goals with his left foot in a game, because he got them both with his left. They were well finished, both goals. That's the way he can play. We just need him to come out like that all the time. It was a good opportunity for him. I thought Cordell [Cato] did very well. I thought Alex Caskey played very well, [Alex] Rose continues to do well for us all the time, so it was a good performance by those guys and they took their opportunity well."
(On if he thought they could open up the game after that first goal was scored...) "Yeah, you're hoping so. Sometimes you're a little hesitant because that one doesn't seem to come right away. The timing of the one from Andy [Rose] right before halftime was really important as well for us, so that sort of set things up for the second half."
(On what it will take for Sammy Ochoa to gain playing time in MLS...) "It's just consistency of training habits. It's not always fitness. It's frustrating sometimes when you're having to train and you don't always get into games and you haven't had a lot of reserve games. It gets frustrating and sometimes you've got to be a special person to sort of push through that and continue to perform every day at practice. Obviously, [David] Estrada has done well up front and he's gotten goals and [Fredy] Montero and Eddie Johnson got some goals there, so it was hard to break past those guys as well."
(On if the Sounders lineup changed tonight based on the many MLS teams that lost their Open Cup games yesterday...) "No. We didn't have [Patrick] Ianni. We didn't have [Adam] Johansson. We didn't have [Leo] Gonzales. We didn't play [Brad] Evans, we didn't play [Alvaro] Fernandez, we didn't play [Mauro] Rosales, we didn't play Fredy [Montero]. So I don't think anybody can complain and say, 'Oh, they just brought out a heavy team.' We brought out who we had to play in the back and then in our front six we brought out five guys with fresh legs to get out there and play. Ozzie [Alonso] hadn't played the last game, so it was an opportunity for him to play. I think it's a reflection of the depth of this team, and [Michael] Gspurning - we haven't talked about him. So right there you're adding up eight players and I think any of those eight could replace those guys that are on the field and we could keep the same rhythm and that's the thing that hurt us toward the end of that phase where we struggled a little bit in the league."
(On the success of non-MLS clubs yesterday...) "You never know what happens in these games. I watched a lot of the games last night. I watched part of Columbus' game, I saw Dallas' game in parts, I saw Chicago's game, so I saw a lot of teams and these teams are going to come and battle. If [Alex] Caskey doesn't respond with the third goal after they make it 2-1, maybe the game changes a little bit."
(On if he reminded his players about the struggles of MLS teams yesterday in the Open Cup...) "Yeah, it was obviously good because we talked about. We said, 'Hey, last night 14 MLS teams played and seven went home. And three of them lost at home.' The guys thought I had forgotten about [Real] Salt Lake, but I left Salt Lake for the end because they said Dallas lost at home and Columbus lost at home, but Salt Lake, their ownership went out and gave them the opportunity to play at home and they had a great crowd and yet they didn't come through. Obviously, coach knows better than I, but it's a game that you can never take too lightly because the moment you take it lightly is the moment you're going to get caught."
Andy Rose - Sounders FC Midfielder
(On the result...) "That was main thing we wanted - the past four games we haven't been able to score first. So that was the main thing, get the first goal and then we knew that would open up gaps in the back and obviously we had some great gaps. Sammy comes in and he does a great job and scores two fantastic goals. The main thing we wanted to do was put on a good show for the fans and score some goals."
(On the goal he scored that started the Sounders' run...) "I was lucky with the bounce. It was a good play from the corner kick. Jeff put it up perfectly for me and I was able to make it come back."
(On if he can feel the importance of these U.S. Open Cup matches...) "The atmosphere at Starfire [Sports Complex] is incredible and you really get pumped up with the fans on top of you like that. I still get goosebumps when I walk out at CenturyLink - it's just incredible. Obviously, three times in a row [that the Sounders have won the U.S. Open Cup] you understand the importance of it and we'd love to go on and win a fourth."
Sammy Ochoa - Sounders FC Forward
(On the team effort in the second half...) "It was that time. We knew they were going to come out strong in the second half, so we just came out with the same mentality we had at the end of the first half. We just came out and got a quick goal and we went from there."
(On his two goals tonight...) "Ozzie [Alonso] got the ball and I tried to stay onsides. I was onside and he played a great ball through and I got the shot off on time and away. The second goal I saw the ball come to me. [David] Estrada was one-on-one with a defender, the defender blocked him and the ball was coming at me and I decided to hit it with my left foot and it went in."
(On the atmosphere at Starfire Sports Complex...) "It was good. It was my first game here at Starfire and it's a nice atmosphere. It's great. It's not like CenturyLink, but it's a good atsmophere. It's a good place to play."
(On learning what the U.S. Open Cup means to this franchise...) "Yeah, we've won three times in a row, so it's pretty big. For us we take everything seriously. It's good to be out here and enjoy it with all these fans, too."
(On if they thought they could break the game open after scoring that first goal...) "Yeah, we were just trying to play zero in the back and we knew when we had one the rest were going to come."
(On capitalizing on the playing time tonight and hoping that play time will continue moving forward in MLS...) "Yeah, he told us this was an opportunity for us to play well. I take whatever. Five minutes, 10 minutes - I take every opportunity. We haven't been doing well the last four games, but this game is going to help us out a lot.
Alex Pineda Chacon - Silverbacks Head Coach
(On the game...) "I think Seattle played an amazing game, especially the second half. The second half was the difference-they played with more speed up top, they changed they rhythm more than us. I would like to say the first half for us was wonderful. We played so good. Tactically, we played the game very well and we were very disciplined. Unfortunately, they scored a goal in the 44th minute, and it changed a little bit in the second half because they scored an early goal. Even after that, we scored the goal to make it 2-1, but again they came back and scored the third one. So we started to really play again like we did [in the first half], but after that they played much better than us in the last 25-30 minutes."
(On what they were doing well in the first half...) "We tried to stretch the team a little bit more. That way the fullbacks never went forward, except for one time. So we tried to keep the fullbacks really busy with three on top, and we had success. We got a lot of people in the final third. We had five players in the final third and we created some opportunities. Unfortunately we didn't put it in."
(On playing a team from a higher division and gauging his team's success...) "I think it was a good experience for the younger players that we have. Obviously we have some experienced players like [Danilo] Tucois and [Reinaldo] Navia, but overall for the whole I think we learned a lot. We are going to get this form and compete in our league, in NASL. We have to get some points over there, we have to focus over there, and with this experience I think we won more than lose."
Ciaran O'Brien - Silverbacks Midfielder
(On the game...) "It was a bummer to give up a goal right before halftime. I think that killed us. And then right away, right when we came back in [they scored again]. To be fair, they're better. They're better on the ball. They're more organized, touch, passing, every aspect they were better, and they definitely deserve it. They deserved to win 5-1. It wasn't like the score line didn't show what the game was like. Hats off to them. That's a different level-different level than us and we couldn't handle it in the second half."
(On playing in front of home fans...) "It was amazing. I'm definitely jealous of these guys. I grew up around the team, and the fan support is unbelievable. It's probably some of the best in the world even I think. They have something special going on. To come back and play in front of family and friends, and even that crowd, it was amazing."
(On being familiar with some of the players out there...) "I grew up with Roger [Levesque] and Zach [Scott], with [Brian Schmetzer] coaching. It was great to play against them, great to see those guys. They've literally-like I've said before-they've paved my way to where I am today. They helped me along the way, they were huge role models for me when I was growing up. It was cool to come back and play against them. Maybe someday we'll be back on the same team again."