Sounders, D.C. United vie for US Open Cup

2009 LAMAR HUNT U.S. OPEN CUP FINALD.C. UNITED vs. SEATTLE SOUNDERS FCSept. 2, 2009, RFK Memorial Stadium, Washington, D.C. (7:30 p.m. ET; FSC/FSE)THE FINAL• History will be made as two MLS teams meet for the open national championship in the 2009 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final.• D.C. United are looking to become the first team to win back-to-back Open Cup titles since the New York Pancyprian-Freedoms did it in 1982 and 1983. United defeated the Charleston Battery of the USL First Division in last year's championship game.• Seattle Sounders FC are looking to become the initial first-year club to win the Open Cup since the 1998 Chicago Fire did it in their expansion season in Major League Soccer.• D.C. United are looking to win the Dewar Trophy for the third time in club history - both previous occasions coming against a second-tier club and also coming at RFK Stadium. Before last year's victory, United defeated the Rochester Raging Rhinos of the then-A-League 3-0 in 1996, to complete the domestic double.• United are one of three MLS teams to win the Open Cup on multiple occasions. The Chicago Fire have claimed the Dewar Trophy on four occasions (1998, 2000, 2003, 2006), and the Los Angeles Galaxy twice (2001, 2005).• Since the inception of Major League Soccer, teams from the U.S. top flight have met in all but three U.S. Open Cup Finals. Twice those included D.C. United (1996, 2008); the third occasion was the only time an MLS team had not won the Open Cup, in 1999 when Rochester defeated the Colorado Rapids.• Both clubs had to start in the MLS qualifying rounds after each did not participate in the MLS Cup Playoffs a year ago. Six teams were advanced directly to the third round of the competition proper; the remaining eight U.S.-based clubs began a qualifying series to determine the final two spots. United defeated FC Dallas and the New York Red Bulls while Sounders FC defeated Real Salt Lake and the Colorado Rapids; the two qualifiers are now meeting in the Open Cup Final.• Amazingly, this is the second time a team from Washington, D.C. will play a team from Seattle in the Open Cup Final. In 1987, Real España from Washington defeated the Seattle Mitre Eagles 3-2 in a penalty-kick shootout after the teams played to a scoreless draw at the St. Louis (Mo.) Soccer Park. It was the only time a team from either city reached the final of the national championship before the launch of Major League Soccer in 1996.HEAD-TO-HEAD• The teams met for the first and only time on June 17 at Qwest Field, D.C. United coming back from a two-goal deficit in the final quarter of the game for a 3-3 draw.• The visitors nosed ahead in the 34th minute. Santino Quaranta swung in a cross from the right touchline and Chris Pontius ghosted in at the back post to send a low volley home. But Sounders FC were level just four minutes later, Osvaldo Alonso hammering a long-range drive high inside the upper right corner.• The home side took the lead just before the halftime break. Nate Jaqua turned and shot from inside the area, and it took a deflection off United defender Marc Burch past Josh Wicks for an own goal.• Sounders FC went ahead in the 57th minute. Fredy Montero skipped across the top of the penalty area from the right and lashed a low shot home inside the far post.• But United began their fightback just six minutes later. Christian Gomez took the ball and raced forward from midfield, ripping a low drive inside the left post past Kasey Keller. United then completed the comeback in the 87th minute through fortunate circumstances, Pontius driving in a cross from the left and Tyrone Marshall powerfully heading into his own goal for the leveler.• Here's Sigi Schmid's team (4-1-3-2): Kasey Keller - James Riley, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Tyrone Marshall, Tyson Wahl - Osvaldo Alonso - Freddie Ljungberg (Stephen King 77), Brad Evans, Sebastien Le Toux - Nate Jaqua (Patrick Ianni 85), Fredy Montero (Steve Zakuani 66). Substitutes Not Used: Sanna Nyassi, Nathan Sturgis, Peter Vagenas, Ben Dragavon.• Here's Tom Soehn's team (3-4-1-2): Josh Wicks - Bryan Namoff, Dejan Jakovic, Marc Burch - Santino Quaranta, Andrew Jacobson (Christian Gomez 46), Clyde Simms, Rodney Wallace - Fred (Ange N'Silu 21) - Chris Pontius, Luciano Emilio (Thabiso Khumalo 73). Substitutes Not Used: Greg Janicki, Avery John, Milos Kocic, Ben Olsen• The teams will meet again in just 10 days time in their second league match of the year, also at RFK Stadium.D.C. UNITED2009 OPEN CUP• On July 21, United returned to the U.S. Open Cup Final for the second consecutive year and fourth time in club history, defeating the USL1 Rochester Rhinos 2-1 at the Maryland SoccerPlex in the semifinal.• A Jaime Moreno penalty kick (41) and a late winner from Boyzzz Khumalo (82) outweighed a scrappy free kick goal from Rhinos striker Taiwo Atieno (68).• Here's Tom Soehn's team: Milos Kocic; Avery John, Fred (John DiRaimondo 68), Andrew Jacobson, Ange N'Silu (Christian Gomez 79), Greg Janicki, Thabiso Khumalo, Devon McTavish, Rodney Wallace, Bryan Namoff, Jaime Moreno (Chris Pontius 58)• United advanced to the semifinals of the U.S. Open Cup in defense of their crown won last year, defeating USL-2 Harrisburg City Islanders 2-1 in the quarterfinals on July 7 at the Maryland SoccerPlex• Early goals from Boyzzz Khumalo (8) and Andrew Jacobson (18) proved to be just enough to hold off a spirited late challenge from Harrisburg, who overcame the sending-off of captain Mo Oduor four minutes after halftime and came within inches of a stunning leveler on several occasions after Nicki Paterson's 64th-minute tally.• United continued defense of their U.S. Open Cup title with a 2-0 third-round victory June 30 against the PDL Ocean City Barons at the Maryland SoccerPlex. Christian Gomez finally calmed the home side's nerves by converting a 74th-minute penalty kick, then Ange N'Silu sealed the match with a stoppage time goal.• After finishing out of the MLS Cup Playoffs race last year, United had to come through MLS qualifying rounds to reach the tournament proper. In the first MLS play-in round at RFK Stadium, United defeated FC Dallas 2-0 (Fred 21, Barklage 66)• Then in the second play-in round, United defeated the New York Red Bulls 5-3 in Washington in a wild game (Pontius 8, 52; Khumalo 18; Barklage 21; Fred 26 - Richards 44; Rojas 48, 61 pen).• United have not had to face top-flight competition yet in their bid to repeat as champions.OPEN CUP HISTORY• D.C. United won the Open Cup for the second time in club history - and first time since winning the "domestic double" in 1996 - defeating USL-1 Charleston Battery 2-1 in last year's final at RFK Stadium.• After the 1996 Open Cup Final victory against Rochester, United took on the then-Dallas Burn in the championship match the following season, in Indianapolis, losing 5-3 in a penalty shootout after the teams played to a scoreless draw over 120 minutes.• United were in the semifinals three times in between, last in 2006. United lost in the final four in 2001 (New England Revolution), 2003 (MetroStars) and 2006 (Chicago Fire).FORM GUIDE• D.C. United put an end to a four-game league winless streak in their last game, a 1-0 victory against the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park on Saturday evening.• The game's only goal came after 11 minutes. Christian Gomez flighted in a free kick from the right flank and Bryan Namoff slashed into to meet at the top of the box, flicking it over a defender and into the left corner for his second goal on the campaign.• Here's Soehn's team: (4-4-2): Josh Wicks - Bryan Namoff, Dejan Jakovic, Julius James, Marc Burch - Santino Quaranta (Chris Pontius 72), Clyde Simms, Ben Olsen, Fred (Rodney Wallace 83) - Christian Gomez (Jaime Moreno 62), Luciano Emilio. Substitutes Not Used: David Habarugira, Avery John, Milos Kocic, Devon McTavishSEATTLE SOUNDERS FC• On July 21, Sounders FC ensured the club will play for a championship in their inaugural season when they defeated the Houston Dynamo 2-1 in extra time in their U.S. Open Cup semifinal at Starfire Sports Complex.• Ade Akinbiyi put the Dynamo into the lead in the 32nd minute, but Nate Jaqua sent the game into extra time with an 89th-minute leveler, then Stephen King scored five minutes into the additional session for the eventual game-winner.• Here's Sigi Schmid's team: Kasey Keller, James Riley, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Tyrone Marshall, Tyson Wahl (Roger Levesque 84), Sanna Nyassi (Steve Zakuani 61), Stephen King, Peter Vagenas (Osvaldo Alonso 65), Sebastien Le Toux, Fredy Montero, Nate Jaqua• Sounders FC advanced to the semifinal after a 1-0 win against the Kansas City Wizards in a July 7 quarterfinal at Starfire Sports Complex.• Wizards 'keeper Kevin Hartman was ruled to have tripped up Fredy Montero in the box in the 88th minute, and Sebastian Le Toux converted the resulting penalty for the victory• Sounders FC won the club's first match in the U.S. Open Cup proper, defeating the USL1 Portland Timbers 2-1 in a third-round match at PGE Park on July 1.• Roger Levesque put Sounders FC ahead after 47 seconds, then Stephen King doubled it in the 27th minute, before Mamadou Keita pulled a goal back just before halftime (43).• The MLS expansion side reached the tournament proper after two home victories in the MLS qualifying round. In the second play-in round, Sounders FC defeated Real Salt Lake on April 28 at Starfire (Le Toux 24 pen, 55; Nyassi 26; King 53; Le Toux 55).• Then in the third qualifying round, Sounders FC defeated the Colorado Rapids 1-0 in Tukwila on a 61st-minute goal from Kevin Forrest.• The Open Cup Final will be the second time in six games Sounders FC have had to play on the road in this year's competition.FORM GUIDE• Sounders FC are coming a second successive draw in league play, playing to a scoreless tie against Toronto FC on Saturday afternoon at Qwest Field.• Toronto FC owned the opening 45 minutes, but could not find a way past Sounders FC goalkeeper Kasey Keller. TFC goalkeeper Stefan Frei made the save of the game in second-half stoppage time, blocking a shot from Osvaldo Alonso when he put through clear on goal.• Here's Schmid's team: (4-1-3-2): Kasey Keller - James Riley, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Tyrone Marshall (Patrick Ianni 19), Leo Gonzalez - Osvaldo Alonso - Freddie Ljungberg, Brad Evans, Steve Zakuani (Sebastien Le Toux 67) - Nate Jaqua, Fredy Montero (Peter Vagenas 67). Substitutes Not Used: Terry Boss, Roger Levesque, Sanna Nyassi, Tyson WahlUSL SEATTLE SOUNDERS• A year ago, the USL1 Seattle Sounders reached the semifinals, falling to the Charleston Battery. Along the way, they defeated the Kansas City Wizards in a penalty shootout after a scoreless draw in the quarterfinals, and defeated Chivas USA for a second year running in the third round.• Current Sounders FC forward Sebastian Le Toux led all Open Cup goalscorers with five.• The year before, the Sounders lost 2-1 in extra time to FC Dallas in the semifinals at Qwest Field, after defeating Chivas USA 3-1 and the Colorado Rapids 5-0 along the way.• The Sounders had once earlier defeated an MLS foe, a 1-0 win against the San Jose Earthquakes in the fourth round in 2003. The last time the Sounders had reached as far as the semifinals came in 1995, when the A-League side lost to the El Paso Patriots at that stage.