TUKWILA (AP) — Sammy Ochoa got his chance to play, and he wasn’t about to give it back.
Ochoa scored two goals just four minutes apart midway through the second half as the Seattle Sounders opened pursuit of an unprecedented fourth straight U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday night by routing the Atlanta Silverbacks, 5-1.
Andy Rose, Osvaldo Alonso and Alex Caskey also scored for the Sounders, who set a franchise record for goals in an Open Cup game since joining Major League Soccer in 2009. The old record was four against Real Salt Lake in 2009.
“Coach (Sigi Schmid) told us this was an opportunity for us to play, and I take whatever — five minutes, 10 minutes — I take every opportunity,” said Ochoa, who has seen action in just three of Seattle’s 13 MLS games, totaling a mere 53 minutes. “It was that time. We knew they were going to come out strong in the second half, so we just came out with the same mentality that we had at the end of the first half.”
Seattle’s victory against the second-tier NASL Silverbacks came one night after seven MLS teams lost to lower-division sides in other third-round U.S. Open Cup games. The Sounders were the eighth MLS team to secure a berth in the fourth round (round of 16), with their next game set for Tuesday.
Atlanta’s goal came from Reinaldo Navia, the leading scorer in NASL play with six.
Seattle remained undefeated in U.S. Open Cup play (14-0-1) since joining MLS in 2009. The only blemish on its record was a 1-1 third-round tie at Portland in 2010. The Sounders eventually won that game on penalty kicks, 4-3.
Ochoa’s goals came in the 62nd and 66th minutes.
“I don’t know if he can remember the last time he scored two goals with his left foot in a game,” Schimd said. “We just need him to come out like that all the time. It was a good opportunity for him.”
Rose’s goal less than two minutes before halftime and Alonso’s score just 71 seconds into the second half gave Seattle a 2-0 lead.
But Navia cut it to 2-1 late in the 53rd minute when he redirected a ball from the top of the box. It caught Sounders goalkeeper Bryan Meredith off-guard and rolled into the back right corner.
Caskey needed less than a minute to respond. He went by himself down the left wing, took the ball just inside the top left corner of the box and drilled it into the back right corner for a 3-1 advantage.
“If Caskey doesn’t respond with the third goal after they make it 2-1, that might have changed the game a little bit,” Schmid said.
The victory snapped Seattle out of a May funk. The Sounders had gotten off to a 7-1-1 start in MLS play, but are winless in their last four league games (0-2-2).
“Seattle played an amazing game, especially in the second half,” said Silverbacks coach Alex Pineda Chacon, whose team was outshot 24-8, including 14-3 after halftime. “They played with more speed up top, and they changed the rhythm more than us.”