by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR), Oakland, CA

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. Sounders FC are getting ready to pack up the team buses and head out to Tukwila and the Starfire Sports Complex for a US Open Cup midweek derby match against local PDL club, Kitsap Pumas. We’ve won this tournament four times before. The only other major domestic title we’ve won is the MLS league Championship (Supporter’s Shield), in 2014. We’ve also had some bad luck in the US Open Cup. An early exit at Tampa Bay Rowdies. A loss to arch-rival Portland where the officiating was so controversial that Dempsey, having been booked, lost his temper and tore the referee’s notebook to shreds. So much at stake, and Pumas having nothing to lose, provide sauce for the goose. This would be an awkward time to underestimate an opponent. Having said that, our young first team players and veteran reserves should be more than up for the challenge. Not just for the purposes of advancing in the tournament, but it could be an opportunity for some younger squad players to stake a first team claim. As the supporters groups of the Seattle Sounders FC, it’s our jobs to forget those poxy old results and bring our matchless spirit and tenacity to the midweek cup-tie between Sounders and Pumas, under the lights in Tukwila. Those of us that can find viewing parties – raise a glass in the auld toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB…AND VICTORY.

The Good News
Pumas shouldn’t pose much of a threat to an MLS side, though it should be noted that Pumas have finished top in their PDL division the last two seasons running. We’ve beat the Pumas in our only meeting in the USOC, five years ago. We’ll be on the closest thing to a home ground a neutral venue can be at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila, WA. I was unable to recognise even one player in the squad for Pumas. Pumas current good form in the PDL shouldn’t be any indication of how they’ll stack up against the Sounders. Although our recent form has us at 3-0-3 in our last six matches, the Pumas will be hard put to attempt to match the quality of the MLS sides we faced.

The Bad News
It would be ideal to have Dempsey and Valdez in the squad, but you would imagine Sigi will select young first team players and reserves for a PDL opponent. Kitsap Pumas have nothing to lose as they aren’t expected to defeat a top division club, therefore Pumas will be highly motivated to make a statement and attempt to knock out a top US club. Pumas have three wins and a draw out of their last six matches. In a recent defeat Pumas conceded four goals to Victoria Highlanders. A large gap in quality should be expected when comparing Sounders FC to Pumas. Both Pumas and Victoria seem to have a combination of university players, fringe a national team players, and a short list of trialists for lower division clubs from Europe or Britain.

The Rest
Midfielder, Trevor Jensen used to play youth football for San Diego Nomads. Defender, Buba Jammeh has represented the Gambia at four age levels. Midfielder, Nick Hamer is known as one of the hardest working players for Kitsap, and once played for Gonzaga. Also played for Portland U-23s. Midfielder, Ibrahim Diaby won an NPSL title with NY Cosmos B before joining Kitsap.

Familiar Faces
Pumas midfielder, Nick Hamer was born in Spokane, WA and played for Gonzaga 69 times. Midfielder, Hamzah Haddadi scored 25 goals in his university career for Seattle University.

Selections for Last Match
Seattle: Frei, Mears, Evans, Scott, Remick, Kovar, Alonso, Friberg, Ivanschitz, Roldan, Morris.

Bench: Miller (gk), Fisher, Alfaro, Gómez, Sturgis, Joevin Jones, Darwin Jones.

Kitsap Pumas: Oberto, Scott, McGiveron, Hamer, Sanchez, DeZorzi, Ramos, Lange, Waterman, Eronemo, Grosey.

Bench: Cardenas, Bangsund, Gonzalez, Haddadi, Madison.

(Starting lineup and bench players for Pumas are estimated based on minutes played in their last match with Timbers U-23s. Lineups were not available.)

Injury List
OUT: Torres (ACL), Anderson (hamstring)
MATCHDAY DECISION: Marshall (hamstring)

Kitsap: unknown

No players suspended for Seattle. Kitsap Pumas disciplinary status is unknown.

Fun Fact
In the 2013-14 season, Sounders forward, Oalex Anderson won the Golden Boot for the NLA (Top football division in St. Vincent & the Grenadines) whilst playing for System 3 FC.