2009 Jul 21

Sounders persevere to win US Open Cup semifinal over Houston Dynamo after extra time

Seattle Sounders FC  2 - 1  Houston Dynamo (AET)

Starfire Stadium, Tukwila, WA

32' HOU: Ade Akinbiyi
89' SEA: Nate Jaqua (Roger Levesque, Sebastien Le Toux)
94' SEA: Stephen King (Le Toux, Steve Zakuani)

Seattle: Kasey Keller; Tyson Wahl (Roger Levesque 84'), Tyrone Marshall, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (sent off 110'), James Riley; Sebastien Le Toux, Peter Vagenas (Osvaldo Alonso 65'), Stephen King, Sanna Nyassi (Steve Zakuani 61'); Nate Jaqua, Fredy Montero. Substitutes not used: Terry Boss, Nathan Sturgis, Zach Scott, Lamar Neagle.

Houston: Tally Hall; Andre Hainault, Bobby Boswell, Julius James (Mike Chabala 59'), Danny Cruz; Corey Ashe (Brian Mullan 68'), Erik Ustruck, Brad Davis, John Michael Hayden; Dominic Oduro (Kei Kamara 65'), Ade Akinbiyi. Substitutes not used: Pat Onstad, Craig Waibel, Wade Barrett, Cam Weaver.

Match report from Sounders FC:

Stephen King scored the game-winning goal in the fifth minute of overtime to give the Seattle Sounders FC a 2-1 comeback win over the Houston Dynamo in a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup semifinal match Tuesday night at Starfire Sports Stadium.

Seattle's Nate Jaqua sent the match into overtime with a goal in the 89th minute.

The Sounders FC will now face defending champion D.C. United in the Cup Final on September 2 in Washington, D.C.

D.C. United defeated the Rochester Rhinos of USL First Division, 2-1, in the evening's other semifinal.

King's goal, his third in cup play, came after Steve Zakuani's cross was settled by midfielder Sebastian Le Toux. King's 12-yard shot beat Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall.

Seattle finished with a 26-7 advantage in shots, including a second-half drive off the post by Zakuani, who led the team with five shots.

Jaqua's equalizer was scored after Le Toux's cross was re-directed by substitute Roger Leveque. Jaqua, a former Houston player, finished with a shot which deflected off a defender and into the net from close range.

Houston had opened the scoring in the 32nd minute of the match with an unassisted goal from Ade Akinbiyi. He finished a loose ball in the box that the Seattle defense was unable to clear out.

The Sounders FC played the final 10 minutes of overtime without defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado who was issued his second yellow card. Hurtado must now miss the Cup Final.

The match was played in front of a sold out crowd of 4,895 and more than 6,000 fans watched a live video webcast online at www.SoundersFC.com.

It was the second time the two teams met in 10 days. Seattle also came from behind to win an MLS match on July 11th on the Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field.

          SEA  HOU
Shots:     26    7
Saves:      3   10
Corners:   11    8
Fouls:     21   19
Offsides:   1    1

30' HOU: James cautioned for a reckless tackle
30' HOU: Boswell cautioned for complaining about James' caution
43' HOU: Davis cautioned for delaying a Houston throw-in
63' SEA: Jaqua cautioned for a reckless tackle
67' SEA: Hurtado cautioned for a reckless tackle
70' HOU: Mullan cautioned for a reckless tackle
80' SEA: Marshall cautioned for unsporting behavior
90' HOU: Chabala cautioned for a reckless tackle
110' SEA: Hurtado cautioned for a reckless tackle and sent off for his second caution

Referees: Edvin Jurisevic; Ian Anderson; Eric Boria; Baldomero Toledo

Attendance: 4,895

Postmatch Quotes

Sounders Head Coach Sigi Schmid

General Comments: "It was a hard fought game. In the first half they got the better of it. I wasn't happy with the goal we gave up and I thought we had a couple opportunities that we should have done better with. In the second half we played much better, created a lot more things. We went into a 3-5-2 to match what they were doing because we felt we were losing the midfield. That allowed us to regain control of the midfield and it created chances. Our team stuck with it and kept fighting and as a result of that we ended up with the equalizer and then the goal in overtime. What it told our guys is that there are rivalries based off proximity like us and Portland, but I think what you're going to see is there's going to be some pretty intense battles when Seattle plays Houston. You're going to see that from here on out. It's good for both their franchise and our franchise because when you have a quality opponent that you have a rivalry with it pushes you both to a higher level."

On spoiled chances: "It always gets a little frustrating. You starting thinking that maybe it's just one of those days where it doesn't fall for you. But at the end of the day it did finish well and we're happy with it."

On early injuries: "Early in the game we had two guys get cuts. I don't know what happened, but I made sure the doctor was in there at half to get them fixed up right away. They didn't bleed in the second half, so I don't know if they used staples or sterstrips or what, but they were bleeding pretty good in the first half."

On improvements in second half: "Zakuani was able to take his player 1v1. We benefitted from the fact that Brian Mullan turned his ankle early on and they had used all their subs, so we switched Zakuani wide because we figured he could take advantage of that. Montero was finding a little space on the right side of the field as well. The width opened it up for us a little bit and we had more success holding the ball. Alonso helped us with recovering some balls."

On Open Cup final: "Right now we're worried about Saturday. I can't look forward to September 1st. I was looking forward to getting a week off then, but now we know we won't get that. What happens between now and September 1 as far as the Open Cup, we'll start worrying about the Open Cup final when we get to like August 28 or 29. We won't worry about it before. We're limited about the number of foreign players we can use, but that decision has been made for us with Jhon Kennedy getting the red card. I told the team that if you're going to get to a final, you're not going to hand the trophy to the other team."

On win building confidence: "It's very important to win big games in order to get confidence that you can win big games. Coming from behind twice against Houston certainly helps that. For us, emotionally, the game against Chelsea was a big game for us too. When we came back in Chicago that a was good experience for us and when we came back in Colorado, that was a good experience for us. And the more experiences like that you get, the more the team feels confident and the next time we go in down one in the 87th minute they feel that can still do it because they've done it before."

Stephen King

On goal: "Steve Zakuani had the ball out wide and took the guy one-on-one and got a good cross in. I think Sebastien might have got a touch to it and it ricocheted off a defender. It was kind of a loose ball and I shot it in."

On frustration with not converting opportunities: "Especially in the last 20 minutes when we were really putting it on them and getting chance after chance and nothing was going in. It's frustrating, but you try to remain confident and keep doing what you're doing and luckily we were able to tie it up."

On which Open Cup win was better: "Both are great. We take this tournament really seriously and we want to win it. To be a part and to get a goal is really special."

On team success in first year: "We try not to call ourselves an expansion team. The season has been going really well so far and we can still reach all the goals we set at the beginning of the year, and I think we've been really confident and really positive and now we're going into the open final."

On fans: "It's incredible. These fans are the best in the league. No doubt about that. They were 4,000 strong before we even got out here for warm-ups. It's really amazing and it makes a big difference for us as players to have fans like that pulling for us."

On Open Cup final: "D.C. is a great team and they've won championships in the past. When we played them earlier in the year, even though we tied them it felt like a loss the way it happened. We definitely want to go in there and bring the Open Cup back home to Seattle."

On game after go-ahead goal: "We knew we were going to have to hunker in and pay attention to their runners and do the best we could to keep the lead. Everyone fought hard and we were able to do that."

Steve Zakuani

On frustration with not converting opportunities: "It was frustrating. I think I could have had a hat trick, but at the end of the day, the team kept fighting and it doesn't matter if I scored because we won the game."

On Houston: "We knew right away when they got a couple cards that they were up for this, probably from the game that we won at Qwest, that carried over. I think in the first half we didn't fight as much, but in the second half we came back and played more like ourselves and played some good soccer and managed to score. I think Houston has been one of the better teams over the years, so to come from behind and beat them twice means a lot."

On first season: "Coming in I didn't know quite what to expect, but it's been perfect from day one. There are some good players here and this is our first final as a team and we're going to work and go in to win. D.C. is a very good team and it'll be a good game."

On busy schedule and Starfire field: "It's difficult. For us to have a game against Chelsea over the weekend was very tough and to then come back against Houston today on that field that's more compact and more physical, it's very hard. It's not easy, but at the end of the day we knew that we'd played here before. It makes the game a bit more difficult, you have to battle a little more, but we did that and got a win so we're not complaining."

Fredy Montero

On game: "Excellent. I feel good. I'm happy to be on this team. After a game like that where both teams are very even, I'm happy that the team was able to come back and win. And thanks to God that we will be playing in the final. After getting the initial goal and then scoring again was tremendous for everybody who came out to support us."

Nate Jaqua

How he got cut: "In the first 5-10 minutes, a guy came over my back. I don't know exactly what the collision was. I was a little bit angry. Anytime you get hit in the head, you get a little bit angry. It was just a real physical game, so stuff like that happens."

Frustration about misses: "We were getting good chances and we were opening up and playing well the last 20 minutes and it felt like they were slipping a little bit in their energy level. We were just thinking, if we keep going, we've got to get one."

The atmosphere: "Fans are tremendous. That makes it a lot easier to get up for a game like this. It was great tonight."

His goal: "The ball got played in to Seba. Seba knocked one in to Roger and Roger had a great layoff to me. I was coming through and had a little bit of space in the box. You don't usually get that so I took a touch and was able to hit it home with my left foot on the far side."

On advancing to the final: "It's great, but we still have business to do. We want to win this thing so I guess we're going to D.C. now. We'll go to D.C. and win this thing. I think it'll be special for this club, in their first year, to win the Open Cup."

Dominic Kinnear - Houston Dynamo Head Coach

On his thoughts about tonight’s match: "Guys tried hard, it was hard tonight. We held off making it close, they got a goal to make it extra time. We were beat up a little bit there at the end. Some guys were able to play some extra minutes."

On being surprised about how physical it became during the game: "I think if some things would have been called early on the guy who scored the equalizer would have been off the field. The guy who is throwing elbows deserves more than a talking to. That is just me."

On his team showing signs of fatigue at the end of the game: "We were badly injured, we used all three subs. I think this tournament at this time of year needs to employ four subs, like it has in the past. I think it is unfair for all these teams who are involved. We all want to take the tournament serious all across the board. I think we need to stop playing on synthetic surfaces. I give the crowd a ton of credit, it is a great atmosphere, but all the superficial stuff is below what these guys should be playing on."

On how the tournament should be changed: "Give it to the team which has a grass field. We played three turf games in 10 days, in Seattle, Toronto, now here. It has gone from the better of the three, to worse, to worst. We have a guy in there who has a possible fractured ankle because he gets it caught in the turf."

On the player who injured his ankle: "Brian Mullan. For me I am disappointed for the guys because they left it all out there. This is a great tournament but there are few things that need to change. Our organization could have hosted the game; we have a perfectly good stadium with a grass field in Houston. We can't get a game; I guess we don't throw enough money at it."

On having players return from national duty: "Yeah, let's hope so. It always seems like when we are getting ahead things happen to make us fall behind. We have been missing guys for one way or another, so are a lot of other teams. You like to have your full complement of players because that gives you the best chances possible. When it arrives we will accept it."

Other match reports: