Sounders net quarterfinal Cup berth in upset win
Who said David couldn't beat Goliath repeatedly? The Seattle Sounders of United Soccer Leagues (USL) First Division became the fifth lower-division...
Special to The Seattle Times
Who said David couldn't beat Goliath repeatedly?
The Seattle Sounders of United Soccer Leagues (USL) First Division became the fifth lower-division soccer club to beat a Major League Soccer (MLS) affiliate in eight third-round Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup matches.
Fleet-footed Frenchman Sebastien Le Toux scored twice on assists from Roger Levesque as the Sounders stunned Chivas USA of MLS 3-1 in front of 3,589 fans in Wednesday night's 94th Open Cup match at Qwest Field.
Levesque then tallied the clinching goal in the 81st minute on an assist from Josh Gardner.
"We're on a pretty good roll right now, and to come in and play with an MLS club, a good one like Chivas, we're happy with it," Levesque said. "Maybe the biggest reward is getting to play another game. This proves that the talent level as a whole in the U.S. is getting better.
"The talent is getting deeper."
The Sounders (12-6-5 overall) host the Colorado Rapids of MLS in the quarterfinals on Aug. 7 at Qwest Field, matching the furthest Seattle has advanced in the Open Cup. Chivas USA (8-7-3) played without four starters as Ante Razov (suspension), Jonathan Bornstein (MLS All-Star), Paulo Nagamura (sprained knee) and Shavar Thomas (Cup-tied to Los Angeles Galaxy) sat out.
Le Toux put the Sounders ahead 2-1 on his second hookup from Levesque in the 50th minute, knocking in a 10-yard blast on a run up the right side. Levesque fed Le Toux from the middle of the field and Le Toux scored his team-high 11th goal of the season.
Le Toux blasted in a 13-yard strike in the 44th minute to knot the game at 1-1 as Levesque laid the ball back for the assist. Le Toux hammered the angle shot into the left corner of the net.
Seattle's goal was set up when Leighton O'Brien stole the ball from Chivas defender Jason Hernandez in the penalty area and passed to Levesque in the middle of the field. The half ended in a 1-1 tie despite a 7-1 advantage in shots for Chivas.
"I just feel good for the 23 guys I'm looking at every day," said Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer. "I just feel good for them as a team. These guys come to work and do their job.
"It helps build on the team philosophy, the pursuit of a championship, and makes them believe."
The MLS club went up 1-0 on an improbable bounce off a shot by Laurent Merlin in the 16th minute. Merlin knocked a 15-yard shot off the toe of Seattle's Danny Jackson that froze goalkeeper Chris Eylander as the ball flew over his head and into the net.
The goal was the first of the year for Merlin, who took advantage of fallen Sounders defender Taylor Graham.
"The goals that we scored were worthy of Fox Soccer Channel highlights, all three of them," Schmetzer said. "They were good goals."
Graham cleared a ball off the back line with an open net behind him after Eylander went out to challenge Merlin in the 33rd minute. Moments later, with Chivas leading 1-0, Eylander saved a point-blank header in traffic in front of the goal by former Sounder Maykel Galindo.