Nate Jaqua scored twice and Steve Zakuani notched two assists in leading the Sounders to an impressive win over Chivas USA.
The Sounders will attempt to win their second straight piece of silverware when they face the Columbus Crew, who made the final after their 2-1 victory over D.C. United.
Seattle scored their first-ever goal against Chivas in the 10th minute of play to end a two-season drought. Forward Nate Jaqua was the recipient of several elusive moves by midfielder Steve Zakuani. The 2009 first overall draft pick eluded several Chivas defenders along the endline. He spotted Jaqua in front of the net. The Oregon native one-timed the pass along the turf past ‘keeper Zach Thornton to give the Sounders an early 1-0 lead.
In the 26th minute, Montero passed a ball back to Zakuani, stationed at the top of the circle. The former University of Akron player’s shot was heading inside the left post and required Chivas ‘keeper Zach Thorton to extend his right hand to deflect the shot wide of the goal.
In the 38th minute Chivas mounted their best threat of the half. Forward Justin Braun outran a Seattle defender and struck a hard right-footer directly into the waiting hands of goalie Kasey Keller.
Two minutes later, Montero found a streaking James Riley, who had moved up from his right back position to take the through-ball. Riley outran his defender and lofted a rising strike that required another fine save by Thornton to keep the lead at only one.
The half ended with the Sounders holding the edge over Chivas USA in total shots (10-2) and those on goal (4-1).
Referee Ricardo Salazar issued his first caution of the night six minutes into the second half. A hard tackle by Chivas’ Paulo Nagamura inside the Chivas half of the field led to a Montero free kick. The Colombian’s shot forced Thornton into a two-handed save. The ball bounced in front of the net to a waiting Jaqua. He sent the rebound wide of the net.
In the 58th minute, Zakuani placed a perfect pass to Montero on his right. The MLS MVP candidate made no mistake in placing the volley past Thornton to put the Sounders up by a 2-0 score. Zakuani earned his second assist of the night, while Montero notched his 12th goal of the year in all competitions.
Chivas responded in the 68th minute with a goal by Jesus Padilla. Justin Braun redirected a ball to Padilla on his right. Padilla let loose with a hard volley that beat Keller inside the right post to narrow the score to 2-1.
The Sounders missed a golden opportunity in the 86th minute to put the game away. Substitute Mike Seamon, in the match after replacing Nathan Sturgis in the 66th minute, sent a cross to Zakuani. Despite a wide open net, his header missed the mark to the groans of the 4,547 supporters in attendance.
In the second minute of extra time, Jaqua notched his second goal of the night. Super sub Roger Levesque let fly a long floating pass from the right corner flag. Jaqua headed the ball into the Chivas net to give the home side an insurmountable 3-1 cushion.
With the victory, Seattle will host head coach’s Sigi Schmid’s former team, the Columbus Crew, in the U.S. Open Cup Final on Oct. 5 at Qwest Field.
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