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United falls to Sounders in Open Cup final

WASHINGTON -- Seattle Sounders FC snared their first-ever trophy on Wednesday night with a hard-earned 2-1 victory over D.C. United in the U.S. Open Cup final at RFK Stadium, paced by second-half goals from Fredy Montero and substitute Roger Levesque.Traveling the breadth of the continent to contest the tournament final, Seattle sprung a surprise win against United on their home turf as the passionate support of the RFK faithful could not push D.C. to a second consecutive Open Cup title as Sounders FC held on despite United playing a man down for the final quarter of the match and getting a gutsy late goal from Clyde Simms.Both United and Sounders FC blended reserves into their lineups during earlier rounds of the tournament but on this occasion the clubs fielded full-strength first XIs, with the home side arrayed in their customary 3-5-2 shape as Seattle came out in a 4-4-2 spearheaded by Sebastien Le Toux and Colombian dangerman Montero up top.D.C rookie Chris Pontius carved out the first chance of the night barely five minutes after kickoff, outmuscling Sounders right back Leonardo Gonzalez to latch on to an astute diagonal ball from Simms in the penalty box. But Pontius was faced with a sharp shooting angle and he dribbled his effort wide of Kasey Keller's far post.Goalkeeper Josh Wicks was required to produce a sharp reaction save at the other end in the 10th minute, denying Montero from close range after Sounders FC crafted a quick passing move that looked to have strayed offside but was allowed to continue by referee Alex Prus.Untied playmaker Christian Gomez looked lively in the early going and he threatened Keller's goal with a 17th-minute free kick from 28 yards out, only to see his low bid curl just wide of the target.D.C. looked strong in possession but Seattle's front runners were maintaining a high line in hopes of putting pressure on United's back three. That aggressive approach paid off when a D.C. turnover led to Freddie Ljungberg breaking into the box behind Ben Olsen. But with only Wicks to beat, the Swede could not find the finishing touch as United's big netminder produced a stellar kick save.United center back Dejan Jakovic had to make an equally impressive intervention on another such moment in the 28th minute, recovering well to make an immaculate sliding block in his own box after Steve Zakuani had burst clear down Seattle's left channel.With RFK's usual cauldron of noise further boosted by a sizeable contingent of Rave Green-clad Sounders FC fans in the upper deck, both teams were urged forward on wave after wave of attacks. But it was the goalkeepers who took center stage as Keller parried Olsen's knuckling left-footer away from the upper corner and Wicks got a big paw up to block Montero's point-blank header just before the intermission.With Fred suffering through an anonymous performance, D.C. boss Tom Soehn inserted Santino Quaranta in place of the Brazilian trickster for the second half and the U.S. international duly supplied the Black-and-Red with a boost of energy along the right flank.United cranked up the pressure as the time ticked down and a goal seemed imminent when Gomez, Pontius and Emilio combined inside the Seattle box on the hour mark. Emilio dallied on the ball, however, and couldn't get enough power on his shot to trouble Keller, who had a simple save in the end.Seven minutes after D.C.'s chance went begging, Seattle made the most of their next attack as their vaunted Fredy-Freddie tandem finally connected with a well-taken counterattack goal to seize the lead.Ljungberg's hard running got him into the D.C. box a step ahead of Jakovic and while Wicks blocked the Swedish star's snap shot, he could not keep from spilling the rebound directly into the path of the late-arriving Montero, who slid in to poke home before the United netminder could recover.Wicks had been his team's best performer by some margin this evening, but his contributions were tarnished by a moment of madness as his frustration boiled over and he stomped on Montero's ribcage while the young Colombian lay prone on the turf following the goal.Prus might not have spied the incident but at least one of his assistants surely did, and after Montero received medical treatment the referee brandished a red card in Wicks' face. After some heated arguing the goalkeeper trudged into the locker room, with Milos Kocic coming on to man the nets as a substitute for Gomez.The home side refused to go quietly and they continued to boss possession despite the numerical disadvantage, with Quaranta and Olsen particularly active in goading their teammates on.But Le Toux soon popped up to produce a pivotal play that doubled the advantage four minutes from full time. The Frenchman bodied Jakovic off a harmless-looking ball in the corner and to United's dismay, Prus judged it to be a legal challenge, allowing Le Toux to turn goalward and center for a wide-open Roger Levesque to tap home at the far post.There would be one more twist in the tale. A desperate D.C. threw everything forward and were rewarded with an 89th-minute goal when Simms stroked home the loose ball after Quaranta's low free kick was deflected by the Seattle wall, setting up a nail-biting finish as United labored for a late equalizer over five minutes of added time.Keller had to patrol his box with authority as the Black-and-Red pumped in a litany of crosses and high balls, but he and his back line held strong and the screaming home fans would not be granted the goal they craved.Sounders FC greeted Prus' final whistle with joy, delirious to have secured their first piece of hardware as an MLS club.SCORING SUMMARY
SEA: Fredy Montero (Freddie Ljungberg) 67 SEA: Roger Levesque (Sebastien Le Toux) 86 DCU: Clyde Simms (Rodney Wallace) 89MISCONDUCT SUMMARY
SEA: Patrick Ianni (caution) 24 SEA: Leonardo Gonzales (caution) 49 DC: Josh Wicks (ejection) 69 SEA: Peter Vagenas (cautions) 79 Referee: Alex PrusReferee's Assistants: Greg Barkey, Rob Fereday4th official: Andrew ChapinTime of game: 90:00Attendance: 17,329Weather: Sunny -and- 73 degrees