There are now four Dewar Cups in the Seattle Sounders' trophy case. Maybe it's that this was the most recent, but somehow it also feels like the best. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?
But this one also came on the road. It came against an opponent that had been playing very well. It came after falling behind early. It came in overtime. It felt really good.
When it is all said and done and the book is finally closed on this era of Sounders soccer, who knows how Open Cup title No. 4 will stand out. But right now it feels like the start of something very special. Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins are capable of doing things no one else in MLS can do. Guys like Zach Scott and Brad Evans somehow managed to look dead and still finished off the game. Role players like Chad Barrett seem to come through whenever they are needed. Stefan Frei is making huge saves when called upon. It all just works.
PHI - Maurice Edu (Cristian Maidana) 38'
SEA - Chad Barrett 47'
SEA - Clint Dempsey (Obafemi Martins) 101'
SEA - Obafemi Martins (Leo Gonzalez) 114'
Seattle Sounders FC - Stefan Frei; DeAndre Yedlin, Chad Marshall, Zach Scott, Leo Gonzalez; Brad Evans (Gonzalo Pineda, 94), Osvaldo Alonso, Andy Rose, Lamar Neagle (Marco Pappa, 74); Clint Dempsey, Chad Barrett (Obafemi Martins, 60).
Substitutes Not Used: Marcus Hahnemann, Jalil Anibaba, Micheal Azira, Kenny Cooper.
TOTAL SHOTS:19 ; SHOTS ON GOAL: 7; FOULS: 7; OFFSIDE: 2; CORNER KICKS:7 ; SAVES: 4.
Philadelphia Union - Zac MacMath; Sheanon Williams (Fred, 105), Carlos Valdes, Ethan White, Raymon Gaddis; Sebastien Le Toux, Maurice Edu, Vincent Nogueira, Cristian Maidana; Andrew Wenger (Danny Cruz, 81), Conor Casey (Pedro Ribeiro, 78).
Substitutes Not Used: Rais Mbolhi, Danny Cruz, Michael Lahoud, Amobi Okugo.
TOTAL SHOTS: 19; SHOTS ON GOAL: 5; FOULS: 12; OFFSIDE: 2; CORNER KICKS: 12; SAVES: 3.
SEA - Osvaldo Alonso (caution) 25'
PHI - Conor Casey (caution) 57'
Referee: Armando Villareal
Referee's Assistants: Peter Manikowski, Corey Parker
4th Official: Jose Carlos Rivero
Weather: Clear and 72 degrees
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial
Seattle Sounders FC
We know they're a good team on the counter-attack. But we also thought we'd have opportunities to get at them. I'm sure the fans thought it was a very entertaining game. When we equalized in the second half, I thought we had some really good chances right after that we didn't parlay. They also had some really good chances in the final 15 minutes that they didn't parlay.
On Clint Dempsey getting his first trophy
People want to win championships and they want to win trophies. That's the attitude we have in our locker room and that's the attitude we've always approached the Open Cup with. We need to figure out a way when we get to the MLS Cup playoffs to keep the first game close because we do well in those one-off games.
On the connection between Dempsey and Martins
They just know how to find each other, they know where each other are on the field all the time.
On Martins coming off the bench
Oba's got a little bit of a strain, so we didn't feel he could go 90 minutes. He said he was starting to feel better after halftime. I said 'I think I need you. Can you go?' He said he could go and I told him to be ready at 60.
On Dempsey's early miss
He's a goal-scorer and all those guys have amnesia. We thought we had a couple others. But it's one of those things. Jim Curtin did a great job. I'm not his agent, but I think he deserves a shot at this thing. They were a tough team.
On being able to bring a guy like Obafemi Martins off the bench
I think its credit to what we did in the offseason. To be able to bring in guys like Chad Barrett and Kenny Cooper, and to bring him and Pappa on, it's big pieces to the puzzle. Tonight we were fortunate to bring Oba off the bench and being able to wear a team down. When he plays with Clint it provides something that I don't think any other team has other than maybe when Donovan and Keane are playing at their best - maybe then. Otherwise, probably the best combo in MLS.
On whether or not Clint's 10-year career without a domestic championship came up
No. No I don't think so. Clint's been a team-first guy since Day One. That's what everybody loves about him. You tell him to do something on the field, and he does it. He puts his head down and works through the overtime and I can't say enough about that guy. He's fun to learn from. He's a leader.
On momentum switching in the second half
I think we pushed forward and obviously we got that goal right after halftime. I think any team when you're up 1-0 going into half, at home, you come out in the first five minutes and just try to play it tight. For the away team to come in and score, it's going to give us a boost going into the latter part of the second half. Guys gave it their all tonight. I can't say enough about this team.
On lifting a trophy for the first time as a captain
Phenomenal. It's not something I ever thought about. I just try to show it on the field more than in the locker room. I'm not super vocal in the locker room, but on the field, I try to get guys going by leading by example with work rate. Like I said, though, the band could be on anybody's arm and they'll wear it with pride.
On first team winning the shield, league cup and open cup
I think we'll enjoy this victory and the reality is we're in a great position to move forward. We were in the position last year, though. We had New York at home and we ended up tying. And then we picked up two points in eight games or something like that. So we learn from our mistakes and it will be another good test Saturday. I think we were a little bit lucky this game was Tuesday, especially with the overtime. The opportunity is there and now it's up to us to push forward.
On if the Union pushed them to another level
We've always talked about this year about beating good teams and we still got to do that against L.A. and we still got to do that against a couple of team. And RSL was one of those teams. When they're at their best, they're one of the best teams in the league. To get a result like that against them at home, in that fashion, pushes us mentally more than anything. But yea pushed to the limits tonight against a good team - they're probably one of the hottest teams in the East right now with them and New England. So a very good team, technical, very athletic team and to come out here and get a result in overtime says a lot about our guys.
On how he felt when the final whistle blew
"I'm just very happy. Very grateful to the Sounders for giving me this opportunity to be here to be champions once more. I'm very, very happy."
On going to CONCACAF Champions League with an MLS team
"It's great to give me the opportunity - maybe - to play against a Mexican team. It's great for me. That will be an amazing tournament to play in and I hope I can be there."
On Martins and Dempsey's partnership
"I think they are great players. And when you put together two great players, they can do that. It is amazing to watch, even when you're in the field. I'm also very grateful for the opportunity to play with them because I'm a huge fan of them. They are amazing. It's a good thing to have them."
On what was going through his mind over the last few minutes in regulation
"In Mexico, we say the champions have that kind of luck. Probably, we have that champions luck. I think that's part of what happened. No matter what happened, you need to get the trophy and that's what we did. I hope this can be the first of three trophies we get this year and that would be amazing."
On keeping balance going forward
"I mean this is great because motivation will be there for the next couple of games. I think that 2-3 more weeks, we can be there for the Supporter's Shield and then we can make it through to the playoffs. So this is very important for us today. We can be loose knowing we can do that again. It's great winning today and hopefully can win the next two trophies for the team."
Interim Team Manager Jim Curtin
"I've never been proud anything in my life that ended in a loss before. This is the first time. I thought our guys put a ton into it, very good first half. We had a chance or two to get up a second goal. We started the second half poorly. They get the early goal, we were on our heels a little bit. I thought we had them on the ropes a little bit when they had a couple of guys go down with little bit of injuries. We had two chances at the end to win it but I think it just wasn't meant to be. Obviously Clint and martins would pull of a play and eventually they did. Seattle is a great team. Seattle is the best team in our league. I thought we went toe to toe with them. We could've got a win there but I was proud of our group. The fan support was unbelievable. We had a packed house, that was the loudest I heard it. The stadium created a great environment for our guys. Apologizes for letting them down; I'll take that blame. We deserve a trophy; we came up a bit short this time. Our guys will remember that feeling though with how close we were. They're crushed obviously. It's difficult but again I've never been a guy that's proud of a loss. I'm the most competitive guy in the room. On the other side as a coach for the first time going through something like this, I at least understand what coaches say when they are proud of their team after a loss. Every guy left it on the field. That was a man's game. You can look at the tackles straight from the start. Good soccer and moments of maybe not so good soccer but still just a grind. At the end of the day Seattle to their credit pulled off more points than us."
Extra time with one sub
"I thought the group that was on the field was doing okay at that point of the game. We were getting chances, creating things. Amobi was the hardest decisions I had to make going into this game. He's been great for us. He's more defensive. Towards the end of the game wasn't a moment we can get him on the field. Fresh legs, yes maybe, but at that point with Maidana and Nogueira going pretty well we didn't really want to tweak with that. Again, you can second guess it but I thought that the group that was on the field was very good tonight. Amobi is a guy I am very high on and he knows that. He's in good form but at the end of the day we went with Mo, Vincent and Chaco and that's a tough group to crack in."
Not starting Martins
"I wasn't surprised. Sigi in the press conference said they had a couple changes. He's won this competition, he's been through these battles, he has a very deep team, deep roster. Andy Rose is a kid who hasn't started a ton for them this year but he was unbelievable today. He's been a guy in the Cup run who's done excellent for them. You bring Obafemi Martins in there, he's a nice luxury. Those guys made a difference when they came in."
About Clint Dempsey
"There's always these little plays in games. Clint he would tell you he should've scored that goal in the 5th or 6th minute. Then it's a whole different game and we're chasing. Clint's special. He's been through these games. He knows what he's doing. His ability to get in the box late and his ability to hold up the ball is the best in our country. It's no secret that he's a winner. He's been through these battles. Credit to him. He's not one of the guys I liked to cover back in New England days. Again, their team is stacked. Attack wise, defending wise, I thought they were very good."
Going forward in the first half
"With Vincent and Maidana in there-it's two guys that are comfortable on the ball. They can play 60 yard balls or 5 yard balls with each other to break a team down. They're a handful. They created a lot for us. Maurice was great too, he broke up a ton of plays, covered a ton of ground- he's gassed right now. My guys are crushed. We respected them but we didn't fear them. We knew we could counter attack and get at them when they would push forward. They do throw numbers forward and they're aggressive at it. Yedlin likes to bomb forward. Andrew had a couple of good chances getting in behind him. This is tough. This is my first time in this position. It's brutal but at the same time I couldn't be proud of my guys."
Words after the game
"I just told them to do the right thing and stay. I didn't want to be one of those teams to get your medal and leave or leaving before you get your medal. Just to be respectful in the fact that it was a good game. Seattle is the champion and we do things the right way."
Sebastien Le Toux
On what he thought the ultimate difference was tonight
"Maybe a few too many mental errors. We kind of pushed the ball forward toward the end, but unfortunately we didn't. And we didn't play well in extra time and that's the difference. Congratulations to them. But it's very disappointing for us."
On if Seattle's experience, specifically Brad Evans and Zach Scott, played a role
"Yea maybe. I don't know, you have to ask them. They already won this competition away at D.C. and won twice at home. They know what it takes to win finals and maybe they used that experience to win tonight, but it's just very disappointing. Right now, we have to move on. But it's hard, especially when you lose like that when you are so close to winning a game. We have to move on.
On what went through his mind when he saw Nogueira's shot hit the post
"I mean I was all ready to celebrate. I really thought it was going in and it ends up hitting the post. We had so many opportunities. There was a good save by the goalkeeper. I don't know, nothing really went our way tonight, especially in the second half. That's what it takes if you want to win the final. We didn't get it tonight."
On what it will take to get the team back up for Saturday
"We have to move on. We have the day off tomorrow so it will be up to us to kind up pick our heads up and be ready to come back on Wednesday ready for Houston because we're in a playoff race and we want to be in the playoffs. It's an objective for this team and we are six games away from that. And we have to win at home and it's a home game. So we have to get our bodies fixed and make sure we are ready to play."
On Seattle's depth to be able to bring Martins off the bench
"I mean every team brings on substitutes and we have to be able to deal with it accordingly. And we didn't do that."
On whether he'll be happy about this performance
"Probably not. Nobody's going to remember who was the finalist. They're only going to remember Seattle won. I'm extremely proud of the group. I'm extremely proud of the guys but I think I'm just going to toss this one away and remember the feeling and not let it happen again."
On being in the thick of a playoff race and moving forward
"Forget about it. It's two different competitions and nothing we can do about this anymore. It's over with and we have to move on."