Osvaldo Alonso #6 of the Seattle Sounders FC and Daniel Paladini of the Chicago Fire battle for the ball in an MLS at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

Seattle Sounders Vs. Chicago Fire, 2011 U.S. Open Cup Final: Fredy Montero, Osvaldo Alonso Guide Sounders To Victory

Two of the hottest teams in Major League Soccer square off for the countries oldest soccer trophy, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

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Seattle Sounders Vs. Chicago Fire, 2011 U.S. Open Cup Final: Sounders Win Third Straight Open Cup

The first team to win three straight U.S. Open Cups in the professional era is the Seattle Sounders and it took them all of three years to do it. The Sounders have now won all three Open Cups they have played in since moving to MLS after defeating the Chicago Fire, 2-0,  in the 2011 Cup final at CenturyLink Field before more than 35,000 people. It took 78 minutes for the Sounders to finally go in front, but Fredy Montero was there to put them on top then Osvaldo Alonso found a second goal in injury time to seal the trophy for Seattle.

At no point did it look like the Fire would win. Seattle were better from the get-go and the surge in form that saw Chicago win match after match was missing. The Fire gave the ball away regularly and the Sounders had chances. For much of the match, those chances went begging though. That is partly because Sean Johnson was in top form, making several great saves to keep the Sounders off the board. The post also did its part, denying Montero in the first half then Mike Fucito in the second half.

Finally, Montero broke though with just a dozen minutes left in the match. Jeff Parke rose to meet a corner kick and headed it down for what could have been a goal, but Johnson was there to get down and deny him. The Fire players just watched as Montero jumped on the rebound though and blasted it home for the go-ahead goal.

To put a nice ribbon on the championship, Alonso scored a tremendous goal six minutes into injury time to send CenturyLink Field into a frenzy. The midfielder, who had done a brilliant job all match breaking up every Chicago attack, got forward on his own this time and danced his way through the Fire defense. Finally, he split two defenders right in front of goal and sent Johnson sliding out to take out his own defender before finishing into an open net.

The final whistle blew and the Sounders players stormed onto the field. They gathered in a circle, dancing in celebration before getting together on the stage where Kasey Keller lifted yet another Sounders U.S. Open Cup trophy.


Seattle Sounders Vs. Chicago Fire, 2011 U.S. Open Cup Final: Fire Look To Overcome Bad History Against Sounders - Hot Time In Old Town

Since the Seattle Sounders joined Major League Soccer back in 2009, the Chicago Fire have struggled valiantly against the Cascadia side. In six league matchups, the Fire have yet to record a win against the rave green. Some of those losses have been particularly painful, with the Sounders scoring late winners in fairly even games. On Tuesday night, the Fire will look to overturn those results in the Final of the 2011 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, a competition which they have won a record four times.

Chicago Fire blog Hot Time In Old Town is cautiously optimistic that their team can finally get the monkey off their back and beat the Sounders on Tuesday, thanks to their recent form and some great mid-season acquisitions.

Although the Fire have struggled so far during the Sounders short MLS history, there is not a better time than now to end the slump. We are peaking at the right time, making a hard playoff push and looking like a very dangerous side.  For the first time in a long time Chicago features a dangerous striker in Dominic Oduro. Marco Pappa is looking good of late, and our back line has really solidified. Sean Johnson is looking like the stellar goalkeeper we all know he can be. And newcomers Pavel Pardo and Sebastian Grazzini (health status up in the air aside) have seemed to nudge the Fire over the top.

The Fire will be slight underdogs against the two-time defending champion Sounders on the road in front of a huge crowd at CenturyLink Field, but it would have been hard to imagine the team would be in this situation just a couple of months ago.

For more on the U.S. Open Cup final and the Chicago Fire all season long, head on over to Chicago Fire blog Hot Time In Old Town.


Seattle Sounders Vs. Chicago Fire, 2011 U.S. Open Cup Final: The Good And The Bad Of Winning The Cup

Winning the U.S. Open Cup has some good things and some potential bad things involved with it.

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