US Open Cup

Herculez Gomez reflects on earlier Open Cup days ahead of Wednesday’s match

TUKWILA, Wash. – On Wednesday, the Seattle Sounders will enter the fray in Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup competition against Kitsap Pumas (7:30 p.m. PT;; KIRO Radio 97.3 FM, El Rey 1360AM). It will be the first match in Open Cup play for the Sounders since last season’s dramatic loss to Portland Timbers at home.

Though it is against a lower division side, forward Herculez Gomez says the team is eager to get back to competing after a long Copa America break.

“I’m excited, I know the guys are excited, we’re looking forward to this,” said Gomez. “It’s been awhile since we played our last game.”

As a veteran in the league, Gomez knows the tournament isn't just about results; Open Cup often gives younger players a chance to compete as the tournament rolls on during an already-packed MLS schedule. Gomez remembers a time when he got his first minutes in an Open Cup match back with the LA Galaxy.

“I remember kind of opened door to the MLS through the Open Cup when I was with the LA Galaxy,” he said. “Because I got to play in those games, I got to show the coach what I could do and it’s the same opportunity for a lot of guys.”

Head coach Sigi Schmid said it's important to remember that it won't be just the Sounders looking to show off. For Kitsap, it's a chance for the PDL side's players to prove themselves against an MLS opponent.

“[They’re] dangerous because obviously some of their players are thinking ‘here’s my chance to shine and show that maybe I deserve to be someplace else,’” he said.

Schmid will watch from the stands on Wednesday

Schmid will serve a one game suspension during the Open Cup match on Wednesday for misconduct during last season’s loss to Portland in the fourth round of the tournament. Schmid will be allowed to attend the match, but will not be allowed to interact with his team during the match.

“I’ll be at the stadium, I just can’t be in the locker room before the game and I can’t be in the locker room at halftime,” he said.

Schmid will be handing over coaching duties to top assistant coach Brian Schmetzer for the seventh time in his career. Schmetzer has a long history with the club as both a player and a head coach for seven years during the Sounders USL days.

“I can talk to my team today but Brian will be coaching the team and that’s no issue,” Schmid said. “I feel completely comfortable with that and Brian is more than ready to do that.”



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