Seattle, Chicago Set to Make History in U.S. Open Cup Final

No matter what happens in the U.S. Open Cup final on October 4th, a slice of history will be made.

If the Chicago Fire win the 98th edition of the event, they will join Maccabi Los Angeles and Bethlehem Steel as the only five-time champions of the nation’s oldest soccer competition.

If Seattle Sounders FC win, they will match New York Greek-Americans (1967-69) as the only teams to win three consecutive USOC trophies.

Most observers would probably tab Seattle as the favorites at this point. They’ll be playing at home, they have won five games in the past two weeks, and they wrapped up their torrid month with a 1-0 USOC semifinal win over fellow Western Conference contenders FC Dallas on Tuesday. That victory, courtesy of Fredy Montero’s 40th-minute goal, gave Seattle a 7-0-1 record in August.

But Chicago is also heating up, having defeated the Richmond Kickers 2-1 in Tuesday’s other USOC semifinal for their third win in nine days. Sebastian Grazzini and Dominic Oduro scored for the Fire, who have a record 15 ties in MLS this season.

In addition to their rising form, the Fire should have plenty of motivation to spur them on in the USOC final: Since they are all but out of the MLS playoffs, the USOC represents a golden chance for them to salvage something from the 2011 season, and add another trophy to their collection, which already includes hardware from the 1998 MLS Cup, the 1998, 2000, 2003, and 2006 U.S. Open Cups, and the 2003 Supporters’ Shield.

Seattle will no doubt be eager for a third straight USOC trophy, but they are also contending for MLS Cup 2011 (they’re currently second in the West standings) and they’re in the thick of the CONCACAF Champions League group stage. Fatigue and injuries could come into play for them.

Whatever the outcome on Oct 4, the CenturyLink Field setting will guarantee an exciting atmosphere (Seattle has sold out their home stadium for 44 consecutive MLS matches).

Fox Soccer will televise the game, at 10:00 p.m. ET.

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