Strong Semi-Finals Sets Up Sigi Bowl US Open Cup Final

All you ever wanted was two strong semi-final matches that were going to lead into an interesting and intriguing big championship final that had the pomp and circumstance. Well who would’ve thought that one man would play a role in US Soccer’s version of England’s FA Cup? But here it is folks, Sigi Schmid, who lead the Columbus Crew to the 2008 MLS Cup Championship and won the US Open Cup at our Nation’s Capital last year for the Seattle Sounders, will play each other on Tuesday, October 5th at Qwest Field.

DC United 1:2 Columbus Crew A.E.T.

After the terrible league season that DC United had to endure as well with a mid-season coaching change, the US Open Cup was their last chance to earn a title of any kind. It looked like fate would be on their side in the 13th minute as it looked like Gino Padula took down a DC player and a spot kick was awarded. Pablo Hernandez calmly took the shot and converted for the one goal to nil lead.

Throughout the match DC and the Crew had plenty of chances to score to either get an equalizer or a two goal lead. But in the 59th minute cards were flying out from referee Chris Penso. Danny O’Rourke and Pablo Hernandez had a bit of an argument during a challenge. O’Rourke saw yellow while Hernandez saw red and DC United shockingly were down a man thru the entire match.

As the clock was ticking towards the 90th minute it looked like DC United was on their way to another miracle victory in the US Open Cup and we’re ready for their third consecutive final match, but in the 89th minute Marc Burch tried to stop Andy Iro’s shot. Unfortunately he deflected the ball by accident and into his own net. Heartbreak at RFK as the match was moving on towards Extra Time.

But the Crew would get that game winner from their top play maker Guillermo Barros Schelotto in the 98th minute when Carey Talley fouled a Crew player in the area. Got his booking and Schelotto converts his spot kick for the lead and the victory. This was a very tough defeat for DC United as they had one minute of regulation left and whatever stoppage time was going to be added for the second half to move on into their third final match. But now they will have to sit at home and watch the final.

Seattle Sounders 3:1 CD Chivas-USA

The defending US Open Cup Champions had a tough opponent for themselves as well since Chivas-USA was also having their troubles in the league. A tough season for first year head coach Martin Vazquez saw his side go down a goal early as Steve Zakuani was terrorizing Chivas-USA all match long. He made a solid pass to Nate Jaqua who converted his first of the match in the 10 minute.

But the Sounders sensation that is Fredy Montero once again came up big for a goal in the 58th minute with the help of Zakuani once again as he made a nice cross into the area and a sliding Montero converts past Zach Thornton for the two goals to nil lead. There was a sense of fear from the Sounders supporters when Jesus Padilla pulled on back in the 68th minute.

But Jaqua converted his second goal of the match in the second minute of three in second half stoppage time to seal the victory and hosting the US Open Cup Final at Qwest Field. Not only will the winner advance to the Qualifying round of the 2011-2012 CONCACAF Champions League, but the Sounders will get a shot at becoming the first back to back US Open Cup Champion since the NY-Pancyprian Freedoms of the Cosmopolitan League in 1982 and 1983.

But at the same time this will be the battle between the Master and his pupil, as current Columbus head coach Robert Warzycha was Schmid’s assistant with the Crew from 2006 thru 2008 till he took over the reins last year. This year’s US Open Cup Final will be very exciting to see when Tuesday, October 5th comes. I know that I’m excited for it.

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