Soccer  > General Soccer  > Seattle claims first berth in 2011-2012 CCL
October 6, 2010, 10:02 AM
SEATTLE - The Seattle Sounders will return to the CONCACAF Champions League for a second straight year, becoming the first team to qualify for the 2011-2012 championship with a 2-1 victory over the Columbus Crew in the U.S. Open Cup final Tuesday night.

Sanna Nyassi scored a goal in each half, rallying Seattle from an early deficit to win its second straight U.S. cup crown - the first Major League Soccer club to win consecutive titles.

Already eliminated from quarterfinal contention this season, Seattle guaranteed itself a berth in the Preliminary Round and kept its coach, Sigi Schmid, unbeaten in five matches against his former club.

Columbus went ahead in the 24th minute when Guillermo Barros Schelotto one-touched a ball to send Frankie Hejduk behind the Seattle defense on the right. The former U.S. international drove toward the net before sending the ball to the middle of the area and Steven Lenhart, who settled before dropping it into the path of Kevin Burns.

The third-year pro finished with a low right-footed shot from the top of the area past Seattle keeper Kasey Keller.

The Sounders, who had more possession and generally the better of play in the first half, equalized 14 minutes later when Columbus keeper Andy Gruenebaum came way off his line to punch a cross from Danny O'Rourke.

The ball fell to Nathan Sturgis, whose muffed touch bounced forward to Sanna Nyassi at the top of the area, and the Gambian pivoted 180 degrees to catch Gruenebaum out of position.

Nyassi scored the winner in the 66th, touching in a rebound from the edge of the six-yard box after Steve Zakuani looped a header off the crossbar.

The goal delighted the crowd of 31,311 at Qwest Field, the largest ever to witness a U.S. Open Cup final in the 96-year-old history of the event.

Columbus, which reached the quarterfinals of last season's Champions League, can clinch a second quarterfinal berth with a victory at Joe Public of Trinidad on October 21.

Seattle claimed the first of three U.S. berths in the 24-team Champions League field. The MLS Cup champion and winner of the Supporters' Shield (best regular season record) will earn places in the Group Stage of next year's Champions League, while the MLS Cup runner-up will join Seattle in the Preliminary Round.
 
October 8, 2010  12:29 PM ET

They're really dominating.. Go sounders!

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