The Sounders goals came in such quick succession in the final 15 minutes that they all bled together in a black-and-neon blur, in a massed, non-stop celebratory huddle. When it was over, Seattle had buried Chicago 6-0 in the semifinals of the U.S. Open Cup at Starfire to advance to another title game.
Now that adrenaline levels have eased back to normal, let’s take another look at each of Seattle’s six goals, one by one.
Goal No. 1 (6th minute) — Behind the midfield stripe, Andy Rose sees Kenny Cooper breaking down the right flank. Rose, with his back to goal, loops a one-touch flick into Cooper’s path.
Behind the midfield stripe, Chad Barrett sees the break unfolding and takes off on a full sprint toward the Chicago goal. He slows only to cut inside a Fire defender at the top of the box, darting to tap in Cooper’s feed. Of Barrett’s 16 league appearances this season, 10 have come as a substitute, that boundless energy aimed at tiring legs.
“When he’s a sub for us, he brings a good spark onto the field,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said last week.
On Wednesday, Barrett showed he can get it done as a starter, too.
Goal No. 2 (33rd minute) — Marco Pappa stands over a corner at the left flag, directly across from the Starfire beer garden.
He lifts a curling ball toward the back post, and none of the defenders get a body on Rose. The midfielder has time to pick his spot with his header, and it bounces just inside the back post.
Goal No. 3 (58th minute) — Pappa is on the right flank, engaged in a one-on-one duel with Fire midfielder — and Tottenham Hotspur loanee — Grant Ward, who had tracked back to help out the defense. Pappa tries to beat Ward to the end line, but can’t find an angle to cross and doubles back.
This time, a window of space opens. Again, Rose is free at the back post.
Rose, who hadn’t started a game for Seattle in months, heads in his second goal of the night.
“We had five or six new starters in today,” Barrett said. “I felt really awesome for Andy Rose. He’s been injured this entire year, to see him come off and be the star of the game was huge today.”
Goal No. 4 (79th minute) — Obafemi Martins was expected to start the match, sine the red card he picked up against Houston last Sunday carries over to this weekend’s match in Salt Lake City. Instead, he came on with 16 minutes remaining and the Fire reeling.
Cooper played Martins into space with a back heel, the striker bounds into it, head bobbing, body careening around Chicago defenders. Jeff Larentowicz goes to ground, presenting the opportunity to look for a foul, but Martins just goes around him. A low shot into the far corner, and the rout is on.
Goal No. 5 (82nd minute) — DeAndre Yedlin pushes forward from right back, as he had done with increasingly regularity as the Sounders pulled further in front.
The second half had been full of overlapping runs like this. Lamar Neagle cuts inside, Yedlin loops around and play flows through areas Seattle had avoided in recent matches.
“We said we needed to play with more width,” Schmid said. “That’s something we talked about before the game. I think that’s something DeAndre gives us on the right side for sure, I thought Lamar Neagle did a better job on that side as well. Brad Evans gave us good width on the left side as well, Marco Pappa stayed a little wider. I think all of them responded to what we were asking them to do.”
Yedlin’s right-footed cross whips onto Cooper’s head for a simple finish.
Goal No. 6 (84th minute) — This was simplest of the bunch.
Neagle hammered a ball through the middle for Martins, who shuffled it to Cooper’s feet with a single touch. Cooper was in all alone, facing barely token pressure from the Fire defense. The wound was given another dash of salt.
By the numbers: 6 — the largest margin of victory across all competitions in Sounders club history, one built goal-by-goal.
In their own words: “We’ve been battered by a good team at their place and that’s all you can say about that” — Fire coach Frank Yallop
Up next: Sounders at Real Salt Lake on Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 11:30 Pacific time and will be televised nationally on NBC Sports Network.