Sounders FC

Montero’s goal puts Sounders in final

TUKWILA – The U.S. Open Cup has been contested since 1914, and in all that time there has been only one club to win three consecutive tournaments.

Sounders FC will try to make it two at 7 p.m. Oct. 4, when they meet the Chicago Fire at CenturyLink Field.

Fredy Montero scored the game’s only goal as the Sounders played their way to a third straight final with a 1-0 win over FC Dallas on Tuesday before a crowd of 4,593 at Starfire Sports Stadium.

“We always want to put trophies in there,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said. “(To reach three finals) in a row is something that we’ve got to be proud of. These are ones that are one and done. It’s not like (if) you have a bad game, ‘Let’s come back next week and regroup.’ So I’m very proud of what our team’s done.”

Chicago secured its spot in the final earlier in the evening with a 2-1 home win over the Richmond Kickers of USL-Pro.

If the Sounders win in the final, they will join Greek American SC of New York, which won three consecutive cups from 1967-69.

“A lot of credit to the team, the squad, everyone involved,” goalkeeper Kasey Keller said. “A big credit to the organization to be able to help us out by hosting so many games. That makes a huge difference for us. The organization has this environment for us to play in and, like I said, there’s a lot of reasons why we’re in our third final, and it’s just great credit to the whole club.”

Seattle punched its ticket to the final on the strength of Montero’s goal in the 40th minute. Montero faked outside, turned in instead, and fired from about 20 yards.

Despite both teams’ heavy August schedule, the Sounders and Hoops contested a free-flowing yet physical game.

The first half was solidly in Seattle’s favor as Brad Evans, Mauro Rosales and Fredy Montero all had good early chances – Montero’s coming on a bicycle kick that sizzled just wide.

“Definitely a pity that the first one didn’t go in,” Montero said through an interpreter. “… Luckily the second one from the distant position (went in) and gave us the spot in the final. … One cannot predict when (goals) happen. The good thing is that the team is working united.”

Dallas pressured Seattle regularly in the second half and had one great final chance as Keller got trapped away from the goalmouth during stoppage time. However, Marvin Chavez sent his shot over the crossbar.

It was the second near-miss for Chavez, who had banged one off the near upright in the 50th minute.

Thirty fouls were called. Seven yellow cards were shown, and Dallas’ Daniel Hernandez was ejected after receiving a second caution in the final seconds.

Evans reportedly suffered a hand injury during the game, and Mike Fucito left the pitch with blood coming from a facial cut.

“I thought in the first half we were the better team with more chances,” Schmid said. “In the second half for sure they were more aggressive, played forward a little bit quicker, played with a little bit of desperation, and we didn’t always handle it well and really didn’t counter as well as we needed to to take advantage of that. But in the end, we’re happy with the 1-0 win, and we’re happy to get to our third final.”

The Sounders will take a five-day break from training. They will resume training Monday, preparing for their return to MLS regular season play Sept. 3 against Real Salt Lake at CenturyLink Field.

Tickets for the Open Cup final go on sale at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

Don Ruiz, 253-597-8808 don.ruiz@thenewstribune.com twitter/donruiztnt blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer

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