By Mary Cunningham
It was the Union’s first title game in their five-year history, and they came oh so close, but …
Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins led the Seattle Sounders to their fourth U.S. Open Cup title Tuesday night, scoring in overtime in a 3-1 victory over the Union at PPL Park.
Dempsey, the U.S. national team captain, scored in the 101st minute on a left-footed blast off Martins’ feed. Martin scored in the 114th minute after speeding around Union defender Ray Gaddis and poking one past goalkeeper Zac MacMath.
“They just find each other,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said about Dempsey and Martins. “They know where each other is on the field at all times. The combination they have is fantastic.”
Seattle also won three straight titles from 2009 to 2011. The Sounders earned one of the United States’ four spots in the 2015-16 CONCACAF Champions League.
Chad Barrett tied it at one goal each on a header in the 47th minute for the Major League Soccer-leading Sounders.
Stefan Frei made four saves in net for the Sounders, and MacMath stopped three shots.
“From a fans’ standpoint, it was probably a very, very entertaining game,” Schmid said. “We equalized in the second half, and I thought we had some very good chances after that. And obviously they had some good chances in the last 15 minutes and they were unlucky to not win the game.”
Maurice Edu opened the scoring for Philly in the 38th minute, heading home a free kick from Cristian Maidana.
The Union, playing the first title game in their five-year history, nearly scored at the end of regulation, but Vincent Nogueira’s shot hit off the post. World Cup star DeAndre Yedlin also made a big defensive play for Seattle late in the game, running 30 yards down the field to thwart a breakaway attempt from Maidana.
“I’ve never been proud of anything in my life that’s ended in a loss before,” said Union interim manager Jim Curtin, who took charge of the team just before Philly Open Cup run began. “This is the first time.”
The tournament has been contested since 1914 when the Brooklyn Field Club won it. Since the inception of MLS, a host of its teams have taken home the Cup in the last 20 years.