The Seattle Sounders advanced to the round of 16 in the U.S. Open Cup with a 5-0 rout of PSA Elite on June 19.
"All week, the Seattle Sounders watched MLS teams struggle, or even lose, to lower division opponents in the US Open Cup fourth round. As one of the most successful teams in Open Cup history, the Sounders were determined not to have a similar experience.
"The Sounders stormed out to a 3-0 halftime lead over amateur side PSA Elite on Wednesday before settling for a 5-0 win to advance to the round of 16. In doing so, they improved to 18-1-2 all-time in the 101-year-old tournament and also helped erase the memories of last year's loss to the NASL's Tampa Bay Rowdies.
"'Obviously we weren't happy with the way we started Open Cup last year, so we wanted to make sure we got off to a better start this year,' Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said. 'Playing at home is certainly easier, but we wanted to make sure we went with a strong defensive group, then give some (of) our young guys a chance (to play) and rest some of the other guys. Overall I was pleased.'
"Although the Sounders used a lineup that only bore a passing resemblance to ones they've fielded during the regular season, it was full of MLS veterans. Former United States international Marcus Hahnemann was in goal, all four defensive starters had extensive MLS experience, Brad Evans anchored the midfield and Cam Weaver and Kenny Cooper formed a rather imposing forward pairing.
"The experience showed in how they remained patient in the early stages. Despite dominating possession, but failing to generate many scoring chances, Seattle refused to force the game. They finally broke through ona 23rd-minute penalty and the dam burst shortly thereafter.
"'I thought it was a very workman-like effort,' said center back Zach Scott, who scored a goal. 'It can be easy to let your guard down against a team like this, and in the beginning we were frustrated because they kept us wide, so it was difficult to cover the penetrating balls.
"'Once we kept possession with the intent of getting behind them we did a good job and the goals started to come. The biggest thing was to get a zero on the board -- we didn't want them to get any confidence.'"
Scott's goal came in the 40th minute to give Seattle a 2-0 lead, per The Seattle Times' Joshua Mayers:
"Seattle doubled the lead in the 40th minute when Scott leaped high to heaad in a corner kick from (Aaron) Kovar, who impressed in his first competitive game for the Sounders.
"'It's not very hard to hit corners when you have guys like Zach and Cam (Weaver) and Kenny Cooper,' said Kovar, who still had rookie duty of carrying the ball bag after the game. '(They're) big targets, and I put it in the air where they can get to it.'
"Scott said he didn't even see the shot go in: 'I just heard everybody cheer, so that was really nice.'
"Cooper scored on a header to make it 3-0 just before halftime, and the advantage could have been far worse at the break due to the game's one-sided nature. PSA Elite, based in Irvine, Calif., was the last remaining amateur team in the field and didn't record a shot until the 49th minute.
"The Sounders fieldeda fairly strong lineup considering the mismatch, starting regulars like Evans, Cooper and Leo Gonzalez.
"'We talked about not giving them a chance, not allowing them to hang around during the game,' Schmid said, 'getting some goals in the first half and putting it away.'"
The Sounders will next take on the San Jose Earthquakes on June 24 at 7:30 p.m. PST.