Sounders 2 Fire 0 - USOC Final

Seattle Sounders FC won their third consecutive US Open Cup Final by defeating the Fire 2-0 in front of a record breaking crowd of over 35,000.  The Fire were fortunate to be level at the half after Seattle controlled the majority of the first 45 minutes as Fredy Montero banged the inside of the post in added time.

Seattle was the better team in the second half as well.  Finally taking the lead in the 78th minute when Montero was left unmarked in the box long enough to bang in a rebound off of another outstanding save by Sean Johnson.  The win was well deserved but the main question Fire supporters will be asking today is - Why wait so long to bring in Sebastian Grazzini?

When Diego Chaves entered the match for Daniel Paladini in the 79th minute it was assumed that Grazzini may simply not have been fit enough to play given the combination of his injured hamstring and wet turf.  But just six minutes later the Argentine playmaker was subbed into the match for Dan Gargan.  The move was made much too late to make a difference but Grazzini was apparently only able to play just a few minutes.

A good effort and an exciting run to the Final falls short and the Fire must now focus all energy into winning their last three matches.  With New York's win over Los Angeles tonight, Chicago has little room for error.  Another draw will likely end their playoff hopes as well.

Player Ratings

GK Sean Johnson (7)

D Dan Gargan (6)

D Josip Mikulic (5)

D Cory Gibbs (6)

D Gonzalo Segares (6)

M Marco Pappa (6)

M Logan Pause (5)

M Pavel Pardo (7)

M Daniel Paladini (5)

F Dominic Oduro (5)

F Patrick Nyarko (5)

M Diego Chaves (5)

D Jalil Anibaba (6)

M Sebastian Grazzini (NR)

C Frank Klopas (5)

Comments

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  • Klopas on Grazzini per Sam
    "It had nothing to do with it being the 85th minute. I knew the guy, talked to him and he said he could give us 10 minutes. I knew that without the ball it'd be very difficult for him to track back."

  • Not a bad effort but the better team won. Johnson was a beast and kept us in it. There was very little constructive play once we got past the center circle so Keller was rarely challenged.

    Let's go get the Brimstone!

  • You could tell the plan was not going to work. Pappa worked the 1st 15 minutes then less and less, Oduro bearly got few touches on the ball. Just didn't see the same energy like in RSL. I think Keller had like 2 saves whole game and Sean like 10. Thats the difference...

  • A disappointing game. I think Grazzini's absence was palpable. Paladini is a serviceable attacking mid, but lacks Grazzini's calm with the ball and vision. Credit Alonso for snuffing his efforts. And Hurtado for his work on Oduro.

    At least no one got red carded. At one point in the 1st half, I imagined a sending off and subsequent bloodbath.

  • Dear lord let this not be true:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2045341/Chicago-Fire-want-Rio-Ferdinand-David-Beckham.html

    The last thing we need is a slowing defender with no marketing value clogging up the roster soaking up DP money. We tried that approach to DPs last year and it didn't work. Hopefully this is just Rio's agent trying to boost his client's value in the transfer market.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    No insight on this yet but I have to believe these rumors are nonsense. Can't pay an aging, injured central defender that type of DP money in MLS.

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    In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    I think there is another source floating around out there with an official Chicago statement, unless that was fabricated as well. lol.

    Anyway, disappointing end! I really have to think that playing in Seattle was also a major deciding factor. Not having Graz on the pitch was the biggest factor overall, so even if we played in Toyota Park, I'm not sure that would have overcome playing in Seattle. All I know is, lets out bid them next time.

    Congrats Seattle, you guys deserved it. Better overall team, and deeper. We're coming for you again.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Seriously, there are ZERO sources in that article! Not even anonymous ones. British press talking out their arse!

  • In reply to Roti2000:

    As the British would say...it's total rubbish.

  • Disappointing loss from a toothless Fire. Time to focus on the remaining three games and make that playoff push.

    A little side rant - when will broadcasters in this country learn how to show soccer matches? It's unbelievable how many times they cut away to shots of the crowd or close ups of players walking the pitch while play was going on! So annoying to watch...

  • In reply to dustbin:

    At least they didn't cut away for a sideline interview.

  • In reply to dustbin:

    How did the Fire section sound/look on TV? From the section it seemed impressive, but we were outnumbered 35000 to 150 or so.

  • In reply to madtown:

    I heard a trumpet a couple of times, but could not tell if that was us or not. As far as voices, no way.

  • In reply to dustbin:

    If you heard one trumpet on tv...that was me. I had no chops after the game and would gladly do it again.

  • In reply to madtown:

    I couldn't tell from the TV shots but I did see a few still pictures that were pretty impressive.

  • Is it difficult or impossible to grow grass in Seattle? Or do they play on that abismal pitch on purpose as a tactic because they aren't confident their staff can win on merit?

    Although the Fire wouldn't have won this match anyway, it's a shame it couldn't be played on a proper pitch.

    I'm guessing Frank didn't put Grazzini in sooner was he was afraid he might aggravate the injury and be lost for the remainder of the season. I can't blame him for that given that there IS now a chance for this season, though the Galaxy's gift to NYRB last night was a serious blow.

  • In reply to Arklow:

    I really wish MLS would make grass mandatoty but you have to remember they're sharing that facility with the NFL. I really dislike soccer on turf.

    Can't really fault Klopas for waiting on Grazzini if the player tells him he can only go limited minutes. My initial reaction was that if the guy can play five minutes he can play twenty but Klopas' explanation after the match makes sense if he didn't want to risk further injury.

  • I think Klopas should have pulled Nyarko, especially after he made another silly foul that almost got him his second yellow card.

    That said, Seattle outplayed us. Great defensive work in shutting down our offense, which wasn't what it should be. Oduro reminded me how terrible his crosses are, which is why he is better at forward. Nyarko's passes were off. A healthy Grazzini could have helped this game, but I'm not sure it would have won it. My main beef with the Seattle fans was their booing of Mikulic when he couldn't continue. That's classless.

    It would be great to keep Dallas's losing streak going. Here's to hoping.

  • In reply to Fuegofan:

    Seattle did a really good job of keeping Nyarko and Oduro ahead of their defenders. Hurtado was particularly good against Oduro. The Ghanians were unusually out of sync because of it.

    Grazzini makes the offense go. Without him the Fire are much to easy to defend since Pardo is the only other player that can serve an adequate ball out of midfield. Seattle knew this and focused on limting the space Pardo had to pass up to the attackers. Pappa was great against RSL but that was more individual effort against a 10 man team. Without Grazzini in there the offense tends to be "wait and counter" which will result in absorbing pressure. Give Seattle credit, they deserved the win.

    Mikulic should have sat in favor of Anibaba too.

  • Going back to the turf issue, I think that US Soccer should require that Open Cup matches be played on grass. Also, not only is playing on turf awful, CenturyLink is known to be the least natural because the fill has compacted. The NFL supposedly has given the team one more year before they have to replace the turf. You could see that the Fire could not judge their passes at all. Its a huge disadvantage for visiting teams to play there because the turf is so awful.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    I don't think that's going to happen for the Open Cup. There are too many NASL/PDL/amateur teams with turf to mandate grass fields for the entire USOC... for the final, maybe, but a team like Seattle is not going to like this mandate at all due to the advantage it gives them.

  • MLS on pace for highest average attendance ever.......

    http://www.socceramerica.com/article/44071/crowds-on-pace-for-all-time-high.html

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    In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    US Soccer should not have allowed home field advantage for the Sounders for 2 YEARS in a row. That to me is just sick.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    ...due, I regret to admit, to the turnout for the Seattle Sounders.

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    In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Where are all the Fire fans man!? I know we aren't drawing well this year, a lot of the fan interest is dead, no Blanco or McBride, No winning season, but I hope our next home game, we can get some support!!! We need it!

  • Changes in store for the USOC bidding process?.............

    http://aol.sportingnews.com/soccer/story/2011-10-05/us-open-cup-should-be-revamped-for-12

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Interesting article. Do you have any idea what the TV draw was on Tuesday? Higher than last year?

  • In reply to Roti2000:

    Not sure what the ratings were like yet, but I would think it's safe to assume it did better than last year's game between Seattle and Columbus.

  • While playing in Seattle might have had some effect on the game, the fact is they outplayed the Fire. If the game was played in Chicago and the Fire played like they did, the outcome probably would have been the same. Whenever you replace Grazzini with Paladini against a top team , you're going to find yourself in deep doo-doo.
    While I appreciate Paladini's work rate and spirit, he lacks some offensive skills to be a threat. While the Fire were outplayed, the Fire put in a decent effort given the conditions. What I fault Klopas for is lack of imagination regarding lineups and using players, felt
    he could have juggled the lineup without Paladini. When I saw Paladini starting, I figured the game was lost at the get go.
    A little more sharp passing would have been a help, too many unforced errors.

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    In reply to lonecoyote:

    Can't argue with that... but playing in Seattle against 35,000 green fans didn't help either.

  • Can't defend the Fire's play on Tuesday. Wish I could. If I saw one more clanked pass from Paladini or Pause off the shin of a teammate, I might have thrown my TV outnthe window. The Fire win or have a chance of winning with two mids who can make linking passes to the front (Grazzini and Pardo) and simply cannot when we don't. Seattle was so susceptible to a strong counter attack, but the Fire mids could not get the ball forward. Did you see how many players the Sounders sent forward? All they needed to do was win a few balls in midfield and quickly go forward, but Palladini as hard as he worked could not make a decent pass forward all night. It was really frustrating. That and the fact that that turf took any sense of judgement of how to make a pass away.

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    In reply to Krasov:

    Field was supposedly wet as well. I'm not happy at all that we had to play in Seattle. Payout for second place is pretty pathetic. 50K? What do you do with that? Pay traveling costs?

  • I sat they use the $50K the FIFA way and buy hotel suites for US Soccer staff as part of next year's "package" to host the final. After all that is the way of international soccer. Now that Chuck Blazer is retiring from Concacaf maybe the Fire can hire him as a front man to negotiate such deals.

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