Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Gonzaga’s Zach Scott part of Sounders bid for history in Open Cup

Scott helped lead Seattle in this 1-0 Semifinal win versus Dallas last year | Photos: Gerald Barnhart
When Gonzaga University’s 2001 All-WCC selection Zach Scott graduated and signed with the then second division Seattle Sounders in 2002, little did he or anyone else know that 10 years later he would be a part of history. Tonight, his Sounders look to become the first team in Lamar Hunt US Open Cup history to win four consecutive championships when they take on Sporting Kansas City on the road at LiveStrong Sporting Park (6:00 pm PT, GolTV).

Though they are on the doorstep of doing something no one else has ever accomplished tonight in the conclusion of the 99th edition of the tournament, the Sounders have already made history as the fourth team to three-peat and are only the third-ever to reach four consecutive finals (Bethlehem Steel, Stix Baer & Fuller).

Scott celebrates 3-peat with family
And the Hawaii-native Scott, the only player on the current roster that is from or went to school in the state of Washington, has been a key part of everything, particularly the past three years. Having survived the cut from making the transition from USL to MLS in 2009, Scott did not play in any of the four Open Cup games in the first run to the championship, but has seen action in all but three games since. He has increasingly played a bigger factor each year, playing the full 90 in the first two games of the 2010 campaign and played three complete games in the first three of their three-peat campaign a year ago.

This year, the Hawaiian has played in all four games so far and is hoping to take the field for the first time in the championship game.

Scott is part of a defensive unit that in the 16-game unbeaten (15-0-1) streak as an MLS team in the tournament has never allowed more than one goal in any game, posting five shutouts along the way – four of which Scott was a part of.

The Zag product’s success in the tournament extends beyond the past four years as he part a major factor in the team’s success during the USL era. Scott played in all but one game during his career with the USL First Division team (though one lineup is missing from’ records - his first possible game in 2002 v Utah Blitzz). During that span, the Sounders were 11-5-2 (1-1 in pks) with the team suffering its only loss to a lower division team, a 3-2 road defeat to the Carolina Dynamo, when he was not in the lineup. He started in 15 of his 16 confirmed appearances, playing the full game 13 times.

The USL Sounders advanced versus MLS competition five times (4-0-1), including a scoreless showdown with Kansas City in 2008 in which Scott struck the winning penalty kick in the 6-5 tiebreaker decision in the Quarterfinals.

It wasn’t the first time Scott found the back of the net. He scored the team’s second goal in the 25th minute of a 5-0 victory against the Colorado Rapids in the 2007 Quarterfinals as the team reached the semifinals for the first time since the inception of MLS. Earlier in 2008, he scored three minutes in as the Sounders cruised to a 6-0 win against the USASA’s Hollywood United, who had upset rival Portland the previous round.

Gonzaga product Zach Scott recognized by Sounders fans with tifo [+] Full Match Preview & Live Blog [+]