The Sounders have a rich history in U.S. Open Cup

Starting on Wednesday, the Sounders will begin their quest for a fourth U.S. Open Cup title.

Way back in 1914 at Coates Field in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, Brooklyn Field Club ousted Brooklyn Celtic 2-1 in the National Challenge Cup, unknowingly starting a tradition that now in 2013 is being contested for the 100th time.

On Wednesday, the Seattle Sounders FC will enter the 2013 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup in the third round against the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the 100th edition of the tournament, which has grown over the last several years to now include 68 teams from Major League Soccer down to the fifth division in US Club Soccer. Along the way, Seattle has had plenty of success to speak of, becoming a perennial contender to win the tournament.

The success in Seattle far predates the Sounders FC when they joined Major League Soccer in 2009, though.

As an A-League and USL-1 club, the Sounders made a habit of knocking MLS clubs out of the tournament. In 2003, they shocked the San Jose Earthquakes 1-0 before falling to the LA Galaxy in the quarterfinals.

Then in 2007, they had a tremendous run to the semifinals that has started a tradition of Open Cup excellence in Seattle. That year, the USL club outdueled Chivas USA 3-1 in the third round, then dominated the Colorado Rapids 5-0 in the quarterfinals, toppling both MLS clubs at CenturyLink Field. In the semis, they battled to the final whistle with FC Dallas, but in the end fell 2-1 in overtime.

The following year, their last in the USL, they proved that their fairy tale run in 2007 was no fluke. After topping two amateur sides in the first two rounds, the Sounders again bested Chivas USA, then outlasted the Kansas City Wizards on penalty kicks to reach the semifinals for the second straight year. There, they would meet another storybook club in the Charleston Battery. That USL club knocked off the Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas behind stellar midfield play from current Sounders FC star Osvaldo Alonso.

The two USL clubs slugged it out in the semifinal and Charleston finally advanced in the penalty kick shootout, but fell to DC United in the championship.

While the Sounders of the USL were the giant-slayers of their time, the Sounders FC will look to avoid finding themselves on the other side of that equation when they meet the Rowdies on Wednesday at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Since joining Major League Soccer in 2009, the Sounders FC has yet to lose a match in regulation in four years in the tournament and will look to continue that success in 2013. Along the way, the Sounders have won three Open Cup titles, becoming the first team since 1969 to win three consecutive Open Cup championships. They suffered their first defeat in the tournament on penalties to Sporting Kansas City in the championship match last year.

It is a historic tournament that the Sounders have taken a lot of pride in through the years and Wednesday will be a good test for Seattle.

Though a second division club, the Rowdies are sure to provide stiff competition. They won the NASL title in 2012 and if there is anything the Sounders organization is aware of, it’s success of lower division teams in the US Open Cup tournament.

Wednesday’s match will feature a live video stream on SoundersFC.com.

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