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Players To Watch: Tampa Bay Rowdies

The Sounders head into their U.S. Open Cup third round match with the Tampa Bay Rowdies understanding that the Florida team isn't to be taken lightly.

Sounders FC @ Tampa Bay Rowdies
Third Round; Lamar Hunt US Open Cup
Wednesday, May 29, 2013; 4:30 pm PT; Al Lang Stadium, St. Petersburg, Florida
Video: Live stream at www.SoundersFC.com

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida – On Wednesday, Sounders FC meets the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the third round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, pitting the four-time finalists and three-time champions up against the 2012 NASL champions.

And while the nature of facing a second division team from the farthest corner of the country entails a bit of unknown, there is still some familiarity with the Rowdies.

Daniel Scott - Defender

The Rowdies centerback has obvious ties to the Sounders, as his older brother is Zach Scott. The Hawaiian defender has followed in his brother’s footsteps for years and has followed the Sounders since his brother first joined the team after an open tryout in 2002. Like Zach, Daniel attended Gonzaga University and stayed in the northwest upon finishing his collegiate career. The younger Scott would ply his trade in the PDL, though, playing with the Tacoma Tide and Seattle Wolves before winning the PDL championship with the Kitsap Pumas in 2011. With the Pumas, he also played in the US Open Cup against the Sounders FC, captaining his side in a 2-1 loss in 2011’s third round. Twice he was an All-League and All-Western Conference selection in the PDL and in 2012 he signed with the Rowdies, helping them to a championship in his first season.

Raphael Cox -Midfielder

A Tacoma native, Cox played collegiately at the University of Washington before being drafted by Real Salt Lake in 2009. There he was part of the MLS Cup winning team, though he saw limited minutes. He played in 2010 in the PDL with the Tacoma Tide, the same club he played for while at UW, and worked his way back up the ladder with the Atlanta Silverbacks of the NASL in 2011 and 2012. Like Scott, this won’t be his first time playing against the Sounders in the Open Cup. Cox played at Starfire with RSL in the qualifying round in 2009 and again with the Silverbacks last year. He is the older brother of Sounders FC Academy product Jamael Cox.

Luke Mulholland - Midfielder

Though he doesn’t have a history with the Sounders, Mulholland is certainly a player the Sounders are aware of. The English midfielder was an All-American for NCAA Division II Wingate University in 2009 and has been impressive in his rise through the professional ranks. He was the USL-Pro Rookie of the Year when he scored nine goals for the Wilmington Hammerheads in 2011 and signed with the Minnesota Stars at the conclusion of the USL season, adding two more goals in seven matches for the NASL club. Now in his second season with the Rowdies, he has four goals and three assists in seven matches, already nearing his totals of five goals and five assists in 26 matches in 2012.

Georgi Hristov - Forward

The 28-year-old Bulgarian forward is in his first season in the NASL after playing 10 seasons in Bulgaria, Poland and Israel. Already, Hristov has acclimated himself to his new team, posting four goals and three assists in seven matches, including two goals in Tampa Bay’s 3-2 loss to Minnesota on Saturday. He also scored both goals in a 2-1 win over VSI Tampa Bay in the second round of the US Open Cup last week.