The Seattle Sounders open up their 2016 US Open Cup campaign against PDL side Kitsap Pumas SC on June 2015. The 4th Round match up takes place at Starfire Stadium on June 15.
About the Opponent
Kitsap Pumas is a member of the PDL, Northwest Division and are only one of two teams (La Maquina, the other) remaining in the competition from outside the top three leagues of US Soccer (MLS, NASL, and USL). Also, according to the Kitsap official website (kitsapsoccerclub.com), this will be there first appearance in the fourth round of the Open Cup in club history.
Currently, through six games played, they are sitting at the bottom of the table (according to USLPDL.com) with a negative-six goal differential. Performances in the Open Cup, however, have been much better. After receiving a bye for the first round, they have won their two games by a combined four goals to one. Their second round win saw them oust the Seattle Sounders U-23 from the tournament with a 1-0 victory. Their third round matchup was against USL side Sacramento Republic. They ousted them with a 3-1 victory. Javier Castro is leading the squad with three of the four goals in Open Cup play. Mike Ramos provided the fourth.
Bad Memories of the 2015 Open Cup
The last time the Sounders took place in the US Open Cup was a memorable match, to put it mildly(Sounders-Timbers:2015 Open Cup). Their fourth round match-up against the Portland Timbers left them finishing the match with only seven players on the field and a loss (3-1) against their most hated rival.
Brad Evans, Michael Azira, and Clint Dempsey all saw red in the match and Obafemi Martins was taken off the field with injury after the Sounders had used all three of their subs.
The Dempsey red card/meltdown could be seen or read about it for weeks following the incident. After seemingly infuriated by the officiating throughout the match, the Azira red card in the 112th minute led Dempsey to get into a shouting match with center official, Daniel Radford. This was followed up by Dempsey grabbing the referee’s card book and ripping it to shreds on the field. Dempsey was handed a fine and was suspended by the US Open Cup panel leaving him out of the fourth round matchup (and the remainder of the 2016 Open Cup Competition).
The Match Up
The Sounders have to feel good about the draw getting one of the perceived weakest teams remaining in the field. On top of that, it will be the Sounders first match since their June 1st victory (2-0) over DC United due to the international break observed by MLS for Copa America Centenario and the Euros. Kitsap, on the other hand, has a match on June 11 leaving all to believe that the home team will be heavily favored.
For a Sounders team who has struggled for consistency in their league season thus far, any victory will provide hope for the remaining MLS season and could provide a positive starting point to a team looking to make their way into the playoffs.