Seattle Sounders have made it a three-peat with another triumph in the 2011 Lamar Hunt Us Open Cup on Tuesday night.
The Sounders backed up their 2009 and 2010 cup victories with a 2-0 win over Chicago Fire in front of a record crowd at CenturyLink Field.
More than 35,000 fans turned up to see Fredy Montero knock home from close range in the 77th minute before Osvaldo Alonso wrapped up proceedings in stoppage time with a brilliant individual effort.
The Fire came close to leveling as the clock ticked over to 90 but Dominic Oduro’s header, although off-side, was saved by Sounders keeper Kasey Keller.
Sounders midfielder Brad Evans said it was a target of the team to deny the likes of Oduro, Pavel Pardo and Patrick Nyarko to help quell the Fire line-up and it proved a winning scheme.
“They look for the long ball first and foremost, so we talked about it before the game: let’s make their backs play as much as possible, especially [Dan] Gargan,” Evans said after the match. “I thought we did a good job of that.
“Pardo wasn’t really involved until middle of the second half, early in the second half.”
Whilst head coach Sigi Schmid was also delighted with the job his players did in closing down those dangerous Chicago entities.
“We talked about making sure their defenders – and primarily Pável Pardo – didn’t have a chance to lift their heads and hit those long balls in behind,” said Schmid.
“I thought Evans did a really good job. Sometimes we were stretched in the midfield, but I thought he did a very good job of stepping up to Pável. When you look at the 90 minutes, it was a rare occasion that he was able to hit a ball behind our defense.”