The Sounders advance to play Chivas USA here in a Sept. 1 semifinal at 7 p.m.

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TUKWILA — Despite struggling in MLS games this year, Sounders FC is the best team in the U.S. Open Cup until proven otherwise.

Defending-champion Seattle continued its fine form in the 96-year-old knockout tournament Wednesday with a 2-0 quarterfinal win against league-leading Los Angeles behind two goals from Nate Jaqua in front of 4,512 fans at the sold out Starfire Sports Stadium.

The Sounders advance to play Chivas USA here in a Sept. 1 semifinal at 7 p.m.

“We came out and we played with a lot of energy, a lot of desire,” said coach Sigi Schmid. “It didn’t matter who they had on the field. I know they were missing certain people (Galaxy stars Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle) but it was our energy, our defensive pressure that helped create the game that we wanted to create.”

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Wearing “electricity” yellow for the third game — all wins — Seattle outshot L.A. 21-10 and advanced to the Open Cup final four for the fourth straight year, dating back to USL days. That success has gone hand in hand with playing at Starfire, where the Sounders won four games leading up to the 2009 final.

“We are the defending champions and we want to keep that title,” said midfielder Michael Seamon.

After a scoreless first half, Seattle took a 1-0 lead in the 50th minute when midfielder Miguel Montano followed up his own miss with a shot off the cross bar that rebounded back to Jaqua, who headed it in.

In the 62nd minute, Jaqua made it 2-0 by heading in a Montano cross from the end line. The 6-foot-3 forward had a couple chances for a hat trick in the remaining minutes, but couldn’t convert before being subbed off in the 83rd minute to a rousing ovation.

“We’ve been practicing well together even just the two of us,” said Montano of his partnership with Jaqua, through a translator. “That reflected in the game.”

Jaqua has four Open Cup goals in his past three appearances, dating back to last year’s semifinal win against Houston.

“I’ve just been excited to play and get out there,” said Jaqua, who’s still recovering from a lower-abdomen injury. “It’s been so long watching.”

The second-half scoring surge came as little surprise after an entertaining first half saw up-and-down action from both teams on the short and narrow field.

The offensive success came from a new-look lineup, however, as only two of the Sounders starters from Sunday’s defeat against L.A. were in the lineup: defenders Jeff Parke and Patrick Ianni.

Goalkeeper Kasey Keller was rested for the first time in a competitive match, and backup Terry Boss recorded the shutout.

Seattle is 1-2 against L.A. this season, including two league losses by a combined 7-1 score. On Wednesday, the Sounders’ depth was the difference.

“We proved maybe that we have the upper hand on their guys 1-24,” Seamon said. “That’s big for us.”


• Seattle’s next MLS game is Sunday against FC Dallas at 7:30 p.m. at Qwest Field. Wednesday marked the team’s fourth game in 11 days since returning to action from the World Cup break.

• No team has successfully defended the Open Cup title in the professional era, which dates back to 1994.

Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or

Sounders FC 2, Galaxy 0

At Tukwila

L.A. Galaxy 0 0 — 0
Seattle Sounders FC 0 2 — 2

First half — No scoring. Second half — Nate Jaqua, 50th minute; Nate Jaqua (Miguel Montano), 62′. Yellow cards — L.A., Alex Cazumba, 45′; L.A., Bryan Jordan, 70′; Seattle, David Estrada, 89′. Red cards — None. Goalkeepers — Seattle, Terry Boss; L.A., Josh Saunders. Total shots — Seattle 21, L.A. 10. Shots on goal — Seattle 7, L.A. 2. Saves — L.A. 5, Seattle 2. Fouls — Seattle 13, L.A. 8. Offsides — Seattle 3, L.A. 3. Corner kicks — Seattle 6, L.A. 4. A — 4,512.


L.A. Galaxy — Starters: Josh Saunders (GK), AJ DeLaGarza, Omar Gonzalez, Leonardo, Eddie Lewis, Chris Klein, Jovan Kirovski, Clint Mathis, Bryan Jordan, Alex Cazumba, Alan Gordon. Subs: Donovan Ricketts, Todd Dunivant, Sean Franklin, Dema Kovalenko, Tristan Bowen, Juninho, Michael Stephens. Substitutions: Juninho, Dema Kovalenko.

Seattle — Starters: Terry Boss (GK), Zach Scott, Jeff Parke, Patrick Ianni, Tyson Wahl, Sanna Nyassi, Nathan Sturgis, Mike Seamon, Miguel Montano, Roger Levesque, Nate Jaqua. Subs: Kasey Keller, Leo Gonzalez, Fredy Montero, Pat Noonan, James Riley, Steve Zakuani, David Estrada. Substitutions: David Estrada, Leonardo Gonzalez, James Riley.

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