MLS Soccer

Sounders FC: Sounders punch ticket to fifth Open Cup final

Seattle Sounders FC is heading to its fifth U.S. Open Cup final in the past six seasons.

The Sounders punched their latest ticket with a 6-0 mauling of the Chicago Fire on Wednesday at Starfire Sports Stadium.

In this case, it’s a ticket to Philadelphia, where the Sounders will face the Union on Sept. 16 for the 101st U.S. Open Cup championship. Seattle won in 2009, 2010 and 2011, settled for runner-up in 2012 and was eliminated in the opening match last season.

“Last year we didn’t do the business, so obviously to get back, you know what it means a little bit more,” midfielder Andy Rose said. “… The fans out here are incredible. We know what it means to them. We want all the silverware we can get this year, and obviously the first opportunity will be the Open Cup.”

Seattle advanced behind a pair of goals from both Rose and Kenny Cooper. Obafemi Martins came off the bench to add a quick goal. And the whole thing got started early with Chad Barrett finishing a pass from Cooper.

“Sometimes when it rains it pours, as they say,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “We obviously did well tonight finishing. Getting the early goal got us off to a really nice start. … Bringing in some guys with fresh legs — Cooper, Barrett, Andy Rose getting finally back into the mix — I thought fresh center backs really helped us at the end of the day, made us a little quicker, a little sharper, which is what we wanted to achieve in this game.”

With All-Star forwards Clint Dempsey not in uniform and Martins among the reserves, Cooper and Barrett started up top. And they quickly pushed Seattle to a lead in the sixth minute as Cooper took a well-timed run down the right side, cut back on his defender, then sent a pass across the goalmouth where Barrett knocked it into the top of the net.

The Fire had several chances in the middle minutes of the first half, but couldn’t get anything past Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei.

The Sounders doubled their lead in the 33rd minute, as Rose headed in a corner kick taken by Marco Pappa.

That combination — Pappa’s cross to Rose’s head to the back of the net — repeated in the 58th minute, increasing Seattle’s lead to 3-0.

“(Pappa’s passing is) unbelievable,” Rose said. ‘I get it every day in training. Great technique. He puts it on a dime for you. Incredible. Easy to finish off chances like that. He’s obviously a great talent passing the ball.”

Martins came on in the 74th minute and scored five minutes later from close range.

Cooper produced the final two goals.

“Our approach to the game was awesome,” he said. “I felt the team looked determined the whole game, whether we were up two goals or three, we just never stopped, kept going at them.”

Frei made three saves in keeping the clean sheet. And helping him along was right back DeAndre Yedlin, who earlier in the day had been part of a transfer agreement that will send him to Tottenham Hotspur of the English Premier League next year.

Yedlin played the full 90 minutes against Chicago.

“My main focus for the past for the last years have been Seattle,” Yedlin said. “I’m just going to keep doing what I’ve been doing. My work ethic is not going to go down: nothing. My main goal is to win MLS Cup here and also U.S. Open Cup, and we got a step closer today.”

The Sounders return to their Major League Soccer regular season at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Real Salt Lake.

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