Sebastien Le Toux converted a penalty kick in the 89th minute. The Sounders will host Houston on July 21 in the semifinals at Starfire Sports Complex
TUKWILA — His question-and-answer session over and his game-winning penalty kick long since finished, Sebastien Le Toux made a beeline for the beginning of the line of fans hoping for autographs.
Such devotion to and love for the fans has made Le Toux a favorite, going back to his days as a United Soccer Leagues Sounder. And such a penchant for goals in U.S. Open Cup play made him the favorite to take the PK with the game on the line.
Le Toux, a late-game substitute, took care of business and propelled Sounders FC to a 1-0 win over the Kansas City Wizards on Tuesday night at Starfire Sports Complex. Seattle advanced to the semifinals of the Open Cup, the American club team championship tournament, and will host Major League Soccer foe Houston on July 21 at Starfire for the right to play for a team trophy in Year One of Sounders FC’s existence.
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Le Toux scored five goals in Open Cup play in each of the past two years with the USL Sounders. He scored twice in a play-in game this season, and added another against the Wizards on Tuesday.
Le Toux’s goal came in the 89th minute after Wizards goalkeeper Kevin Hartman made an aggressive tackle on Seattle forward Fredy Montero, who was making a run into the penalty area. Referee Abiodun Okalaja blew his whistle and raised his arm to signal the foul, and Le Toux stepped up for the kick.
“Nobody was taking the ball, so I was feeling like I had to take it,” Le Toux said. “I said to Fredy I was feeling it and even if he wanted to shoot, I was ready for it. I’m happy that I scored and we won.”
After controlling the match for 89 minutes for the most part, and missing chances, Sounders FC’s players and fans rejoiced. The crowd of 4,352 went berserk in celebration, and Sounders FC held off the Wizards over four minutes of extra time to secure the win.
“Seba, in this tournament, is the chosen one to take penalty kicks,” said Montero, who missed wide with a running left-footed shot earlier in the second half. “I wanted to kick it, but well, the last time we won, he told me he wanted to take them. It’s the coaches’ decision, as long as we win them all.”
Sounders FC backed up its claim to be taking the U.S. Open Cup seriously, starting seven regulars and no one in the 11 had fewer than five starts in all competition, MLS and U.S. Open Cup combined. Seattle went with Kasey Keller in goal, the veteran’s chance at redemption after being ejected with a red card in the regular-season meeting between Kansas City and Sounders FC in April.
Sounders FC lost that match 1-0. It got its revenge Tuesday, knocking the Wizards out of the Open Cup tournament.
Sounders FC advanced to play the Houston Dynamo in a U.S. Open Cup semifinal. Seattle won the bid to host a semifinal match pending a win Tuesday. The Dynamo, which plays Sounders FC in a regular-season MLS match Saturday at Qwest Field, defeated the Charleston Battery of the USL 4-0 earlier in the evening.
“Our guys can smell it now and taste it,” Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid said of an Open Cup title.
The Dynamo is in first place in the MLS Western Conference with the league’s highest point total. “It’s great to be able to play them twice in two weeks,” Schmid said. “It’s a good challenge for our team, it’s a great opportunity for our fans to see one of the best teams in the league play here twice.”
Sounders FC 1, Wizards 0
|Kansas City||0 0 — 0|
|Seattle||0 1 — 1|
First half — None. Second half — 1, Seattle FC, Sebastien Le Toux 1 (penalty kick) 89′. Goalies — Seattle FC, Kasey Keller, Terry Boss; Kansas City, Kevin Hartman, Boris Pardo. Yellow cards — Santiago Hirsig (reckless tackle), Kansas City, 76′; Fredy Montero (shirt removal), Seattle, 79′; Santiago Hirsig, Kansas City, 93′. Red cards — Santiago Hirsig (second caution), Kansas City, 93′. Total shots — Seattle 12, Kansas City 6. Shots on goal — Seattle 3, Kansas City 1. Total saves — Kansas City 2, Seattle 1. Fouls — Kansas City 14, Seattle 9. Offsides — Kansas City 4, Seattle 1. Corner kicks — Kansas City 7, Seattle 3. A — 4,352.
Seattle FC — Kasey Keller (GK), Patrick Ianni, Tyson Wahl, James Riley, Steve Zakuani 71, Nathan Sturgis 91+, Stephen King, Fredy Montero, Nate Jaqua, Sanna Nyassi 78′, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado. Substitutes — Terry Boss (GK), Peter Vagenas 91+, Sebastien Le Toux 71′, Evan Brown, Zach Scott, Roger Levesque 78′; Lamar Neagle.
Kansas City — Kevin Hartman (GK), Michael Harrington, Abe Thompson 70′, Matt Besler, Santiago Hirsig 93’+, Rauwshan McKenzie, Jack Jewsbury, Aaron Hohlbein, Josh Wolff, Herculez Gomez, Jonathan Leathers 46′. Substitutes — Boris Pardo (GK), Lance Watson 46, Claudio Lopez 70, Kurt Morsink, Matt Marquess, Graham Zusi, Michael Kraus.
José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or email@example.com