TUKWILA — Unbelievably, it came down to the goalkeepers — San Jose’s Matt Bersano darted his penalty kick past Sounders keeper Stefan Cleveland for a walk-off U.S. Open Cup Round of 32 victory on Wednesday.

The Quakes won an exhausting penalty shootout 10-9 after a 2-2 draw through 120 minutes of play at Starfire Sports in Tukwila.

San Jose advances to the tournament’s round of 16. There will be a draw to decide matchups.

The Sounders were trying for their fifth U.S. Open Cup title. They won in three straight years (2009-11) and in 2014.

“I’m sure Cleveland is pretty dejected,” Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said. “It’s tough for goalkeepers to switch around from saving the ball to scoring. I feel bad for him because he had a good game.”

Cleveland saved San Jose’s second attempt in the shootout. Teammate Leo Chu, who was third in the order, sailed his shot high over the bar to give San Jose a chance to win.


In regulation time, Sounders midfielder Kelyn Rowe made a beautiful pass at the end line to Fredy Montero in the box, with the club original heading home the equalizer in the 77th minute.

The Sounders outshot San Jose 20-9 in regulation.

Quakes forward Cade Cowell surprised Seattle’s defense just after halftime for a goal in the 50th minute that gave the visitors a 2-0 lead.

As it started to rain, the Sounders started to connect more passes and make better runs.

The first scoring play was on a set piece. Sounders midfielder Jimmy Medranda unleashed one of his signature left-footed bangers to the upper right corner on a free kick. The goal stunned Bersano, closing the gap to 2-1.

The Sounders created a series of five rebound shots at goal in the 45th minute off a corner kick. Bersano deflected a beamer by Medranda and after two more rebounds were muffled, Medranda collected the ball just outside the keeper’s box for another strong attempt. Bersano jumped and stretched his arms out to punch the ball out of frame. Chu had a final try near the post in the frantic stretch, his shot unable to sneak in.

The quick reflexes helped the Quakes take a 1-0 lead into halftime.


The Sounders lost 4-3 to the Quakes at PayPal Park in April. The club is 1-2-1 against San Jose during U.S. Open Cup play, including dropping a quarterfinal match 2-1 in 2017.

Sounders defender AB Cissoko fouled San Jose forward Benjamin Kikanovic in the box to set up the first goal of the match. Jack Skahan nailed the penalty to give the Quakes a 1-0 lead in the 10th minute.

“Losing in the first 10 minutes, it’s a little harder to comeback,” Montero said. “We did it. Unfortunately … we didn’t get the result we wanted to, but it’s time to move forward.”

Schmetzer fielded a top-tier lineup for the April meeting between the sides, using it as a tuneup for the CONCACAF Champions League final series against Pumas UNAM.

Wednesday’s starters were a mix of the veterans and youth. Most had played the bulk of last weekend’s 2-0 loss to FC Dallas in Frisco, Texas. Schmetzer did swap out defender Nouhou and midfielder Obed Vargas for Rowe and Josh Atencio.

“I put a team out there that was able to win, dead stop,” Schmetzer said.


The Open Cup returned to Starfire after one match at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma in 2019. Fans were greeted by the CCL trophy at the gate entering the stadium. A line snaked onto an auxiliary field about 90 minutes before kickoff as people waited for a photo with the gold-trimmed cup.

U.S. Soccer canceled the Open Cup tournament the past two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I played in the complex many times when I was a kid,” said Rowe, who was serenaded with chants of 2-5-3 for his Federal Way area code. “It was kind of cool, nostalgic to be back.

“We had a great run in CONCACAF, we also had a lot of high emotions. Now we need to make sure we get back to reality, learn how to grind out games. You saw that comeback to 2-2. That’s great going into league games.”