Seattle Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid said Cal FC’s win over Portland in U.S. Open Cup action Wednesday was a good thing for his club.
However, that assessment was based on location of the next match, not the quality of opposition.
“Obviously, it was an interesting game,” Schmid said of the amateur club’s 1-0 win over a Major League Soccer club. “It shows what can happen. The game of soccer is cruel sometimes. You can completely dominate the game and not come out with a result. It’s happened to us a couple of times this season, I think, in league. And it happened to Portland. But those are all the experiences you end up going through. For us it’s good because we get to play at home, don’t have to travel, and it’s always better to play at home.”
The Timbers outshot the visitors 37-8, put 15 shots on goal compared with Cal’s three, and took 11 corner kicks to CFC’s three.
However, the only shot that went in came from Cal FC forward Artur Aghasyan in the fifth minute of added time. The result sends Cal FC through to meet the Sounders at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Starfire Sports Stadium in Tukwila.
Cal FC previously eliminated PDL-champion Kitsap, 3-1, and USL-Pro runner-up Wilmington, 4-0.
That’s quite a run for an amateur club that plays in the U.S. Adult Soccer Association. The players have day jobs that take priority over practices. As recently as the Kitsap match, they were playing in old Chicago Fire kits.
However, the club is coached by former U.S. national team forward Eric Wynalda, who created it as a second chance for players on the fringes of a professional career.
“It’s not a Sunday morning pub team,” Schmid said. “It’s not a bunch of guys who roll out of the bar and walk out onto the field to play. These are all guys who still see soccer in their future. Who – even through the team maybe doesn’t train all that much – are training on their own, are staying fit on their own. So from that standpoint, it’s not your typical amateur team.”
Several Cal FC players have been through tryouts with the Sounders, among them goalkeeper Derby Carrillo, midfielder Diego Barrera, and defender Jesus Gonzalez. Defender Mike Randolph has played for the Timbers and the L.A. Galaxy and was considered by the Sounders.
“They offer a chance for players who didn’t make it for one reason … or another and gave them a chance to play,” Schmid said. “Right there is four players that are guys that everybody has an idea about and is aware of.”
Instead of their usual practice Thursday, the Sounders mixed things up by playing dodgeball on one of the indoor pitches at Starfire Sports Complex.
“It’s been a long season and we need to incorporate some things for our team – just have some fun sometimes,” Schmid said. “It’s something that we sort of concocted about three or four days ago. … I think the guys – you heard the laughing and stuff; the good-natured jousting and stuff – the guys had a good time. And that was the intention. And they got a little bit of a workout … as well. Guys broke a sweat, for sure.”
Tickets for the Sounders-Cal FC match go on sale at 10 a.m. today. Fox Soccer will televise the game. … Sounders FC plays Vancouver in an MLS Reserve League match at 6 p.m. today at Starfire Sports Stadium. Schmid said there is a 50-50 chance that midfielder Steve Zakuani (leg) will play.