It wasn't easy. Lord knows, it wasn't easy. But the Sounders defeated FC Dallas to advance to the final of the US Open Cup against the Chicago Fire who defeated the Richmond Kickers 2-1. The first half was a showcase for all that is good about MLS; Fredy Montero and Brek Shea battled for supremacy, Fredy Montero made a stupendous move with his weak foot to put the Sounders in front. It was everything the US Open Cup should be.
And then there was the second half. It was ugly, violent and downright terrible. There were awful challenges from both sides, lots of stifled play and more than a little bit of blood. The Sounders won, and in the end that was the most important thing, but it could have been so much more. What could have been a true classic battle in American soccer history devolved into yet another war of attrition. Things got so nasty that FC Dallas captain Daniel Hernandez was issued a (largely symbolic) red card at the completion of the match. The Sounders walked away with the win and it was a well deserved victory, but one gets the feeling that had the referee taken the very least bit of control over the game it could have been a true classic.
Even beyond the physical nature of the game, the Sounders seemed eager to make things far more interesting than they perhaps should have been. Dallas spent the majority of the second half laying siege to the Sounders goal and in general make things quite uncomfortable for the home side. But the Sounders were equal to the challenge -with special credit going towards Zach Scott for his role in shutting down Brek Shea once again-and though things weren't especially pleasant the Sounders managed to get the job done and keep their run going.
The Sounders will now face the Chicago Fire in the US Open Cup final on October 4th, but this match may well have further implications; with Seattle pushing towards the top in the Western Conference and eying a run at the MLS Cup, grabbing a win over a legitimate competitor playing a full strength side is nothing to sneeze at. And for now the Sounders run of success carries on; it's probably going to stop at some point, but for now it's best just to sit back and enjoy the ride.