TUKWILA, Wash. — Seattle forward Nate Jaqua continued his U.S. Open Cup goal-scoring heroics as Seattle advanced past the LA Galaxy 3-1 in a quarterfinal match on Wednesday night at the Starfire Sports Stadium.
Jaqua, who scored five goals in the 2010 competition to be named Player of the Tournament, provided a goal and an assist for the Sounders as they continued their pursuit of a third consecutive Open Cup.
Fredy Montero and Lamar Neagle also scored for the home side, while Adam Cristman notched the Galaxy’s lone goal.
Because of the small field size and the proximity of the fans, matches at Starfire can be exciting, and Wednesday night's was certainly no different.
Landon Donovan’s inclusion in the starting lineup sent a signal that this game mattered to Galaxy coach Bruce Arena, who left star midfielder David Beckham in LA. Seattle’s lineup included Osvaldo Alonso and Montero as Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid also gunned for victory.
The Sounders took the lead early through Jaqua. After the striker hit the post in the third minute, his tidy finish off a Pat Noonan through ball 60 seconds later gave Seattle a 1-0 lead.
It was Jaqua’s eighth career Open Cup goal, with seven of those coming in a Seattle shirt.
What followed from there could only be described as a deluge of chances for the home side. Jaqua and Noonan were in the middle of most of it, creating three more excellent chances before Seattle scored again. LA defender AJ DeLaGarza misfired on a pass deep in the Galaxy’s defensive third, allowing Jaqua to find Montero, who utilized a cut back to score.
Seattle had three more excellent chances after that to extend their 2-0 lead, but it was the Galaxy who got on the board next. Cristman finished a cross from Chris Birchall in front of the net.
Birchall almost scored himself just before the stroke of halftime, but Seattle’s Terry Boss made the save.
Although the league suspended Birchall earlier in the day for his tackle on Patrick Nyarko, the ban does not apply to non-league competitions like the Open Cup.
While Seattle were likely frustrated about failing to convert on their many chances, the scoreline set up an exciting second half.
The Galaxy enjoyed good spells of possession against Seattle but were unable to break through. As the game loosened up, Neagle made a diagonal run through the penalty area to score after some nifty footwork from teammate Álvaro Fernández.
The 74th minute goal put Seattle up 3-1, proving too high a hill to climb for Donovan and the Galaxy.
Seattle now set their sights on the semifinal round on Aug. 30, when they host FC Dallas. The two MLS sides will square off for the right to play for the US Open Cup, and the CONCACAF Champions League berth bestowed to the winner.
SEA -- Nate Jaqua (Pat Noonan) 4
SEA -- Fredy Montero (Nate Jaqua) 25
LA -- Adam Cristman (Chris Birchall) 40
SEA -- Lamar Neagle (Alvaro Fernandez) 74
LA Galaxy -- Josh Saunders, Bryan Jordan, A.J. DeLaGarza, Gregg Berhalter, Todd Dunivant, Chris Birchall, Michael Stephens, Juninho (Jovan Kirovski 78), Landon Donovan (Hector Jimenez 75), Paolo Cardozo (Miguel Lopez 64), Adam Cristman.
Substitutes Not Used: Juan Pablo Angel, Kyle Davies, Brian Perk.
Seattle Sounders -- Terry Boss, Zach Scott, Jeff Parke, Patrick Ianni, Leo Gonzalez, Pat Noonan (Erik Friberg 64), Osvaldo Alonso, Alvaro Fernandez, Lamar Neagle, Nate Jaqua (Roger Levesque 71), Fredy Montero (Mike Fucito 79).
Substitutes Not Used: Servando Carrasco, James Riley, Mauro Rosales, Kasey Keller.
SEA -- Osvaldo Alonso (caution; Tactical Foul) 22
SEA -- Fredy Montero (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 54
SEA -- Jeff Parke (caution; Tactical Foul) 55
LA -- Paolo Cardozo (caution; Reckless Tackle) 59
SEA -- Mike Fucito (caution; Delaying a Restart) 90
Referee: Kevin Stott
Referee's Assistants: -Corey Rockwell; Mike Kampmeinert
4th Official: Levi Rippy
Weather: Partly Cloudy-and-71-degrees