Sounders’ quest for 4th U.S. Open Cup begins May 29

don.ruiz@thenewstribune.comMay 16, 2013 

Seattle Sounders FC will open its fifth U.S. Open Cup on May 29 against a team representing Tampa Bay.

Whether that is the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the North American Soccer League or VSI Tampa Bay FC of USL Pro will be determined Tuesday when those two clubs meet in a second-round game at Plant City, Fla.

If the second-division Rowdies advance, the Sounders would travel for a 4:30 p.m. May 29 game at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Fla.

If third-division VSI Tampa Bay advances, it would visit the Sounders at Starfire Sports Stadium in Tukwila at 7 p.m. May 29.

The winner of that match will move on to the fourth round on June 12. The quarterfinals are scheduled for June 26, the semifinals for Aug. 7 or 21, and the final for Oct. 1 or 2.

Seattle will be aiming for its fourth U.S. Open Cup title. The Sounders beat D.C. United in the 2009 final, Columbus in the 2010 final, and Chicago in the 2011 final, before losing to Sporting Kansas City in the 2012 final.

This is the 100th edition of the Open Cup, which features a 68-team field representing all levels of U.S. Soccer and includes all 16 Major League Soccer teams based in the United States.

The other local team in the tournament — Pierce County-based Sounders U-23 of the Premier Development League — will visit the Charlotte Eagles of USL Pro at 4 p.m. Tuesday. If Sounders U-23 advances, it would visit the Chicago Fire of MLS on May 28.

RESERVES AND U-23

Sounders FC returned to training Wednesday for the first time since its 4-0 MLS win over San Jose on Saturday.

However, teams at other levels of the organization were active this week, including the Sounders Reserves, who lost to USL Pro Orlando City, 2-0, Sunday at Cheney Stadium.

“For Orlando it’s a much more important game than it is for our guys,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “… We always try to win every game we play in, but what we were trying to do is get some guys coming off injuries some game time, give some young guys some exposure and game time. So from that standpoint we accomplished that.”

Schmid also was in attendance Tuesday when Sounders U-23 took a 5-1 win over Doxa Italia in an Open Cup first-round game in Sumner.

“(We wanted) to see some of the guys who have been in our academy before, to see them play, see how they’re doing and see where that’s at,” Schmid said. “That’s where we looked at (current first-team player DeAndre Yedlin) last year when he came back and played, and obviously we’re going to look at some of our academy kids that are playing there now.”

HEALTH UPDATES

Schmid said Shalrie Joseph and Patrick Ianni, who went 90 minutes in the Sounders Reserves game, came through fine. However, the news about Steve Zakuani (abdominal strain) was not as encouraging: “Zakuani didn’t come through it very well,” Schmid said. “He still had some pain afterward, so we’ve got to deal with that and see how we progress from there.”

Midfielder Mauro Rosales (shoulder sprain) worked on the side Wednesday while his teammates returned to practice.

“It’s bothering him,” Schmid said. “That’s why we held him out of contact. We just had him do fitness and did the warm-up and so forth. He can do everything with the ball. … It’s something where if he gets hit, it’s going to hurt an awful lot right now. We’re trying to see how long it takes to calm down and seeing where we can go from it.”

Ianni missed Wednesday’s practice because of illness.

Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808 don.ruiz@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer @donruiztnt

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