Clint Dempsey – who else – provided the game-winner with 18 minutes to go in extra time as Seattle Sounders won an exciting back-and-forth affair at PPL Park by a 3-1 score over a creative yet ultimately wasteful Philadelphia Union.
It’s a fitting ending to the affair as Dempsey raised his first-ever club trophy and Seattle’s fourth US Open Cup in the last six years. USMNT teammate Maurice Edu put Philadelphia up midway through the first half in front of the home fans, but Seattle took their chances better from there.
Chad Barrett leveled just after halftime, and despite plenty of action, it took until the beginning of added time before we saw another score, as Dempsey grabbed the lead. Obafemi Martins scored late in extra time to put the game away for Seattle.
Set pieces resonated on both goals in regulation. Philly captain Edu put the Union one-up halfway through the first 45 as he headed a free kick powerfully into the back of the net.
The Sounders struggled to maintain consistent pressure, and despite an early chance from Clint Dempsey in the opening 10 minutes that skied over the bar, they found consistent chances few and far between.
Things burst to life for both sides after the restart, with Seattle taking advantage just two minutes since halftime. Chad Barrett picked up the equalizer as a corner kick deflected high into the air, and as players waited for it to come down, Barrett picked up the ping-ponging ball and nodded it home from point blank range.
Following Barrett’s equalizer, the game exploded open, but neither team could convert numerous chances into a goal as the second half waned on.
Philadelphia’s Zac MacMath made a brilliant save to keep the score at 1-1 with 20 minutes to go, as Brad Evans blasted on net from a tight angle, and just moments later on the other end DeAndre Yedlin had to sprint back a long way to make a last-ditch tackle on Cristian Maidana on the break.
Both teams were searching for a goal with bright attacking prowess, and Dempsey came agonizingly close but he dragged just wide of an open net after barely reaching a cross by Marco Pappa. The chance did, however, signal Seattle regaining the momentum just as they had out of the break.
Vincent Nogueira nearly gave Philadelphia an emphatic win in stoppage time, but he ripped his shot off the post, and it nearly went in for an own goal after the rebound deflected back off a pair of Sounders defenders. Both Evans and Zach Scott limped their way through stoppage time with Seattle owning just one substitution left. Essentially 11 on 9, the visitors hung on for dear life as stoppage time ticked by.
We went to extra time, and the fireworks continued. Pappa found substitute Obafemi Martins just a minute in, but MacMath expertly denied the MVP candidate. Seattle then used its last substitute on a limping Evans.
As both teams poked and prodded with dangerous attacks, Seattle finally hit on the counter. Martins combined with Dempsey, and as Martins slotted his teammate through, the USMNT captain provided the dagger to PPL Park’s heart.
Pappa nearly put the game away but he thundered the crossbar as the first half of extra time came to a close. Philadelphia didn’t go down without a fight, but Martins closed up shop on the counter as he burst past Ray Gaddis and slotted easily past MacMath.
Seattle defeated four Major League Soccer teams on their way to victory, downing the likes of San Jose, Portland, and Chicago along with Philadelphia.