The Seattle Sounders will spend Memorial Day on a cross-country trip to Florida, where they will open U.S. Open Cup play against the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the North American Soccer League.
The pairing Sounders FC had hoped to avoid clicked into place Tuesday when the Rowdies eliminated VSI Tampa Bay FC of USL Pro, 2-1.
That means the Sounders will travel directly to the Tampa Bay area after their MLS match Sunday at the Los Angeles Galaxy. Had TBFC won, it would have taken a cross-country trip to Tukwila.
“Selfishly, not thrilled with the idea of going from L.A. to Tampa,” Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer said. “… Seattle probably got the short end of the stick in this particular case, which again doesn’t make me happy as a general manager of a team.”
The Open Cup match will be played at 4:30 p.m. May 29 at St. Petersburg, Fla. Then, the Sounders will return to league play June 1 at Chivas USA.
“We go from L.A. to Tampa and back to L.A.,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “So we have to go across the country and play three games, and then we have a reserve game as well at the end of that; so we have four games in a grand total of seven days, and we have to go cross country to get it done. It’s definitely not optimal.”
In other Open Cup play, Sounders U-23 was eliminated with a 3-0 loss at the Charlotte Eagles of USL Pro. Sounders U-23 returns to PDL play at 7 p.m. Friday, meeting Kitsap at Curtis High School in University Place.
Sounders midfielder Brad Evans was making lunch Monday when the phone rang. On the other end of the line was U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann calling with word that Evans was being brought up to the national team.
“You know for a couple of weeks that you’re on the standby list, so if anything does happen there’s the possibility of being called in,” Evans said. “I was just making lunch, and I actually was going to ignore the phone call and pick it up later. And I looked at it (and saw it was Klinsmann) and turned the stove off and had a good long conversation. So, yeah: really positive and really happy.”
Evans, 27, has seven caps for the United States. He and Seattle teammate Eddie Johnson will join the U.S. squad after the Sounders’ league match Sunday at Los Angeles. They are expected to miss two MLS matches.
The pair will join Team USA training in Cleveland before a five-game stretch in May and June that includes two friendlies and three World Cup qualifiers. One of the qualifiers — June 11 against Panama — will be played at CenturyLink Field.
Major League Soccer announced that its 20th franchise — New York City FC — will begin play in 2015. Manchester City FC of the English Premier League will be the primary owner, in partnership with baseball’s New York Yankees. “It’s exciting,” Hanauer said. “Obviously massive market — you could argue the most important market on the planet. Great rivalry opportunities. Great visibility. Huge investment between the franchise and the stadium from a foreign group that sees the potential in our game and in our league.” … Sounders FC continues to weigh its options regarding a possible USL Pro affiliate in Tacoma or elsewhere in the Puget Sound area, Hanauer said. … Seattle midfielder Osvaldo Alonso is expected to miss the Los Angeles game because of a groin injury. Schmid indicated Alonso could be available for the match the following weekend at Chivas USA.