Seattle out to make US Open Cup history
SEATTLE -- The last time the Seattle Sounders met the Columbus Crew back on Sept. 18 in MLS league action, the Sounders emerged with a resounding 4-0 road victory. But no one is expecting Tuesday’s US Open Cup final (10 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer Channel) to follow the same script.
“[Columbus are] a proud team and that score is going to [tick] them off,” Sounders manager Sigi Schmid said after training on Monday. “They’re a team that is going to want to come out and say that [the 4-0 result] is not a reflection of [their] abilities -- and it isn’t. They’re too good a team.”
“It was a lopsided result, but it wasn’t what the game was,” Seattle star Fredy Montero told MLSsoccer.com on Monday. “We absorbed their attack and when we had the opportunities, we converted. It wasn’t that one team was that much better than the other. We defended and attacked when we had to.”
The Colombian attacker says that he expects his team to come out with a lot of energy on Tuesday, spurred on by a home crowd of over 30,000 at Qwest Field. However, if Seattle fail to break through early, Montero says the game will evolve into a tight affair.
Even the prospect of penalty kicks is not being discarded. The Sounders practiced PKs on Monday and Schmid is not about to let his team second guess itself despite the fact it has converted just one from the spot in two MLS seasons and recently missed another in Champions League action.
“We’ve had issues scoring penalties in MLS games for some reason, but we had no problems in Portland [US Open Cup Round of 16],” Schmid said. “There are different reasons for maybe why a guy steps up or doesn’t step up at the end of a game, but it’s a decision I make with five minutes to go [in overtime].”
The former Crew manager is counting on the return of back-up goalkeeper Terry Boss, who flies back from Puerto Rico national team duty on Tuesday morning.
Also, winger Sanna Nyassi, who scored his first MLS goal against Toronto on Saturday, will be available for selection and is set to join the Gambian national team after Tuesday’s final. Meanwhile, forward Michael Fucito is yet to participate in a full training session this week and will not see the field as he continues rehabilitation from an ankle injury suffered in Champions League play last week.
For the players that do take the field in the Sounders’ electric yellow kits on Saturday (the Crew will wear their black jerseys), history beckons and the opportunity is not lost on Schmid.
“It’s always special when you can do something unique and different,” he said. “We have that opportunity [Tuesday]. No one has defended this title in a long time [NY Pancyprian Freedoms, 1982 and 1983]. So being able to step up and do that after a 27-, 28-year gap is something that’s definitely special for our team and we’re looking forward to it.”