King Rat (gkr) wrote,
King Rat

Sounders win U.S. Open Cup semi-final over Chivas 3-1

I’m a beta user for Intersect. It’s a social network site for telling stories. I’m not sure what else is public at the moment, so I’m not going to reveal much more than that. But I am going to use the stuff I’m writing there to spur some more frequent blogging, which I haven’t been doing with any kind of regularity since before my mom died. So here’s the first story I wrote over there, an account of watching the Sounders beat Chivas USA 3 to 1 today.

Despite scrambling unsuccessfully to get someone to take my second ticket for this game over the last few days, I completely forgot about the match when I woke up. Luckily I had set a reminder for 2 hours prior to first kick.

I really prefer to take public transit whenever I am not in a rush. Since I was attending my first match at Starfire, Metro was going to be a little bit of an adventure. Google Maps helpfully told me to take route 150 to get to Starfire. Thank god I don’t have to use Metro’s awful trip planner anymore. And I’m definitely living in the future. I remember my high school days when I carried around 10 to 15 schedule pamphlets for all the possible places I might go. If I had to transfer and I had more than one choice of routes, it was a rough guess at best which option would get me to my destination faster. These days, plus in two addresses and I have the 3 best routes at my fingertips.

Route 150 zipped along quite nicely, taking the freeway for most of the way, and Interurban Ave for the last bit. Luckily, there were other Sounders fans on the bus who’d been to Starfire before. So I just got off when they got off. Lucky because Starfire isn’t visible from Interurban, with a lot of trees and the Green RIver obscuring the complex. And although it’s a little bit of a hike from the stop to the complex, it seemed shorter to me than walking from the International District Station to -NOT CAVING IN TO THE NAMING RIGHTS- Field.

I arrived about 15 minutes prior to the match, but the bleachers were completely filled already. My best option seemed to be the slight rise behind the eastern goal line, which turned out to be in the beer garden. I apologize, Sounders, for using prime beer garden space and not purchasing any beer. Several folks who sit around me in section 132 at the home games had grabbed a spot right on the rail next to the corner kick spot, so I joined them. Nothing like being 10 feet from the match, although the view to the other end of the pitch was difficult.

The Sounders seemed to have their way with Chivas for most of the first half, generating opportunity after opportunity. Fredy Montero took the right hand side. Steve Zakuani kept getting to the goal line on the left. Most of the opportunities were flubbed. But about 10 minutes in, Zakuani made a nice cross that Nate Jaqua tapped in. There was nothing that Zach Thornton, the bane of the Sounders, could do. It was the first Sounders goal against Chivas in five matches.

On at least two occasions, a Chivas player came down the left side of the pitch and had what appeared to me to be an open shot on goal. But in both cases they slid the ball to another player more centrally located who couldn’t put it away. I’m not sure what I was missing from my angle that the first player didn’t take the shot. Tyrone Marshall also continued to frustrate me. He made some brilliant defensive plays, but also had some ugly lapses as well. Luckily, none of the resulting chances could be converted, and he seemed to settle in to steady play after the first 20 minutes or so.

There was only one sign with the running time on the field, and it was behind, above and to my left, so I didn’t really pay much attention to it. Consequently, the first half seemed to go by really quickly.

The second half started off with some great attacking by Seattle. Another sweet cross from Zakuani to Montero for a tap in put Seattle up 2 to 0. I felt a lot more comfortable after that. A 1 goal lead can be quickly erased, but a 2 goal advantage gives a team the room to make a mistake and not lose the game. The Seattle players seemed to be working a little at cross purposes after the goal, and aggressive play from Chivas seemed to be taking advantage of it. For 15 to 20 minutes after the second Seattle goal, Chivas was constantly on the attack. They slipped one by Kasey Keller about 23 minutes into the second half.

As time wound down though, Chivas seemed to get more desperate and sloppier. The Sounders kept stealing the ball during the last 10 minutes and turning possession into attacks. In extra time, one of the Sounders took the ball away in midfield, passed to shaggy Roger Levesque running down the right, who made a nice cross to Jaqua in front of the goal. Both Thornton and Jaqua raced for it, with Jaqua a half step ahead to head it in over the Chivas keeper’s attempted punch away. Sounders ahead 3-1 with only a minute or so left in extra time. A some time wasting goal kicks from the Sounders and a Jeff Parke for Zakuani substitution ticked off the final minutes with no serious Chivas attacks.

Awesome game, and Nate Jaqua has to be considered for M.V.P. of the U.S. Open Cup tournament. I think that puts him at 5 goals so far, and he has one more match to add to his total, the tournament final at -NOT CAVING IN TO THE NAMING RIGHTS- Field in October.

As an added bonus, the bus back downtown was right there when I got out of the stadium, and unlike regular games, there were only 15 or so people waiting to get on. So I got to actually sit instead of be jammed upright against a bus full of nattering U.W. students.

crossposted from King Rat.

Tags: life, soccer, sounders, sports

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