Seattle Sounders FC gets an early chance to wash away any frustrations from its scoreless draw against Toronto on Saturday.
Come Wednesday, the Sounders will visit D.C. United while in search of its first trophy: the U.S. Open Cup.
“For this franchise in its first year to get to a final is already a great accomplishment, but we don’t want to be satisfied with that,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said. “We want to come back with the Cup. To be the first expansion team since Chicago to win hardware in its first year is definitely a goal we have.”
The Open Cup is the American equivalent of England’s F.A. Cup – a competition open to clubs from across the country at all levels of the sport.
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The first-year Sounders played their way into the tournament with wins over Real Salt Lake and Colorado, and then advanced with wins over Portland, Kansas City and Houston.
The final is set for 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at RFK Stadium and will be nationally televised on Fox Soccer Channel.
Seattle and D.C. United played to a 3-3 draw in their only previous meeting, a June 17 Major League Soccer game at Qwest Field.
“This is a must-win,” Schmid said. “If you win, you’re the Open Cup champions; and if you don’t, you’re not.”
The Sounders will be without defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, who picked up two yellow cards in the semifinal.
Also questionable is defender Tyrone Marshall, who played 19 minutes Saturday before going out with a hamstring injury.
“We’ll see how it responds to the treatment,” Marshall said. “… I’m hoping (to be able to play) Wednesday, but right now it’s 40-60 that I’ll be about to go.”
Designated player Freddie Ljungberg will be unavailable when the Sounders return to league play Sept. 12, also at D.C. United.
Ljungberg was involved in a scuffle with Toronto’s Dwayne De Rosario in the 73rd minute Saturday, and both players were given cautions for unsporting behavior.
It was Ljungberg’s fifth yellow card of the season, mandating a one-game suspension.
“There had already been a couple occurrences where it appeared they pushed our guys into the boards,” Schmid said. “That wasn’t dealt with, so it was probably a push from us and De Rosario reacted. … Ljungberg getting his fifth yellow card is bad because he misses the next game.”
Ljungberg wasn’t part of the initial contact – which involved Hurtado and De Rosario. But he said he had to stand up for his teammate.
“In Europe, you’re taught to protect your own team, and that’s what you do for your teammates,” he said. “It’s not acceptable when someone hits someone else on the pitch.”
Don Ruiz, 253-597-8808