Major League Soccer's Seattle Sounders are the winners of the 96th edition of the U.S. Open Cup championship.
This is the first year in the MLS for the expansion Seattle Sounders. They have already been a huge success in their city, with the highest average attendance in the league - more than 30,000.
They are in a playoff position at third place in the Western Conference, with eight wins, 10 ties and six losses. And now, they have already won a championship - capturing the oldest trophy in U.S. Soccer, the U.S. Open Cup. It is contested by all affiliated amateur and professional teams in the United States. Seattle won it on the road by beating defending champion D.C. United here in Washington, 2-1.
Seattle goalkeeper Kasey Keller, a four-time U.S. World Cup player who turns 40 in November, told VOA Sports this was special.
"Oh, winning cups is great!" Keller said. "I'm just so proud of what the club has done so far, what the team is done. You know, to come here when most of the people thought the game would be at our place [home field] but it wasn't, so to come here and win is tremendous."
Seattle's victory prevented D.C. United from becoming the first team in 26 years to win back-to-back U.S. Open Cups.
After a scoreless first half, Seattle broke through in the 67th minute, as Colombian forward Freddy Montero slotted in a rebound off United keeper John Wicks, who earlier had made some outstanding saves.
But in his frustration, Wicks stomped on Montero, who had fallen to the ground. It earned him a red-card ejection. Playing with a man advantage, the Sounders appeared to put the game away, on a goal by substitute Roger Levesque in the 86th minute. However, midfielder Clyde Simms got one back for D.C. in the 89th minute. Five minutes of stoppage time was added but Seattle was able to hold on for the victory.
Veteran D.C. United midfielder Ben Olsen said it was difficult trying to come from behind, a man down, but credits the Sounders for playing an inspired match.
"We were under the gun [pressure] a lot. Give them a lot of credit," Olsen said. "They've got some pretty talented guys, pretty dynamic players up top [on offense]. You know, give them credit. Congratulations to Seattle. But on the day we had some good stuff [play] too. It just wasn't our night."
The Seattle Sounders thus become the second Major League Soccer expansion franchise to win the U.S. Open Cup in their inaugural season. The Chicago Fire won it in 1998.