After a fairly even first half in which the Sounders were only able to manage a goal right before the break, Seattle kicked it up a notch in the second frame a cruised to a 5-1 victory over the second-teir NASL Atlanta Silverbacks. Andy Rose opened the scoring and Osvaldo Alonso, Alex Caskey, and Sammy Ochoa (twice) tacked on the rest; Reinaldo Navia was the Silverbacks' lone goal scorer on the evening. The Sounders will now host the Eric Wynalda managed Cal FC in the fourth round on Tuesday at 7:00 PM; the fifth-tier, all amateur side defeated the Portland Timbers 1-0 at Jeld-Wen Field.
After a a chaotic third round that saw half of the eligible MLS teams defeated by lower-division sides, the path to a US Open Cup title -and with it qualification to the CONCACAF Champions League- is as wide open as ever. In a bigger-picture sense, the Sounders will be encouraged by the strong performances from some of their less frequently used players, with young winger Cordell Cato standing out with a breakout performance.
While the Sounders should have been expected to advance easily, there's no doubt that such an emphatic win was just the thing Seattle needed after a rough four-game stretch. While there's still the little matter of keeping this momentum rolling into Tuesday's match against Cal FC and hopefully on into the second third of the MLS season, to have such an explosive result was clearly a relief for the Sounders.