It was a fantastic final in Seattle, Washington as 31,311, a new record attendance in the US Open Cup Final, jammed inside Qwest Field to watch their first Championship Final involving their Sounders and a possible repeat to keep the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. This tournament since 1914 had plenty of action, pace and excitement from the players all the way up to the supporters in the stadium.
The Columbus Crew got their first chance to get on the score sheet when they took advantage of poor defending in the 24th minute. Frankie Hejduk on the near side got a nice ball and entered the Sounders area. A quick pass to Steven Lenhart who quickly found Kevin Burns and the shot was slotted inside the far post for the early one goal to nil lead. The small group of traveling supporters from Columbus were celebrating as they felt it was a solid start for their side.
But the Sounders were pressing and fighting their way to get level. The hero of the night stepped up to the plate in the 38th minute to get the match leveled as Sanna Nyassi fought hard to get his first of two. Andy Gruenebaum came off his line as he saw the ball crossed in and punched it away. Stuck in no man’s land the Sounders took advantage as Nathan Sturgis settled the ball, Nyassi got behind it and ripped a hard shot for the equalizer. Qwest Field roared with energy as their side leveled the score.
Nyassi would earn his second of the match in the 66th minute as his side was waiting for a chance to take the lead. A nice cross by Fredy Montero from the near side got to the middle of the field. On the bounce Steve Zakuani got his head onto the ball and aimed it at the net. A frantic Gruenebaum tried to track it, but as he leapt the shot hits the crossbar and out. But sadly he landed inside the net and a wide open goal for Nyassi as he calmly converted his brace.
Head Coach Robert Warzycha had one more substitution left to try and force extra time as he knew his side was behind. Robbie Rogers who has been recovering from injury got his chance to try and make a difference by replacing Eddie Gaven in the 81st minute. Four minutes later Rogers got his opportunity as he received a great ball from Frankie Hejduk in the area and out of nowhere Rogers hard shot nailed the crossbar. That would be the last real chance for the Crew to force extra time.
After ninety minutes of play and four minutes of second half stoppage time, the Seattle Sounders won their second Lamar Hunt US Open Cup Championship and made history on Tuesday, October 5th. Not only are they the first side in the Major Soccer League era to win the cup in back to back seasons, but they are the first side to do it since the New York Pancyprian Freedoms of Queens, NY in 1982-83 seasons.
It has been twenty-seven years since a professional or amateur side has attempted to defend and kept their US Open Cup Championship in consecutive seasons and to be fair the 2010 Championship Final was worthy of such a record breaker. Outside of Columbus, Ohio & Seattle, Washington you were never disappointed in this year’s Open Cup Final.
Right now the Seattle Sounders will return to the CONCACAF Champions League in the 2011-12 qualifying round, but at the moment the three year consecutive champions New York Greek Americans are next on the Sounders radar as they won the Cup from 1967 thru 1969.