TUKWILA, Wash. – Coming off their 3-1 defeat to the Portland Timbers at Providence Park on Sunday, the Seattle Sounders returned to work on Monday for an overcast morning practice at Starfire Sports in Tukwila.
It was the first of two training sessions for Seattle before the team’s next game, which will see the Sounders hit the road for a U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal matchup with the LA Galaxy on Wednesday.
Speaking with reporters following Monday’s session, Sounders forward Herculez Gomez said Wednesday’s USOC fixture affords his side with a golden opportunity on multiple fronts.
“I’ve been in this position before where maybe league play isn’t going so great,” Gomez said. “But [Open Cup] play is a different tournament and it feels like a different tournament. It’s a different animal. I think guys recognize the opportunity. It’s a clean slate. It’s not going to be easy but we understand that. But we’re also excited for the opportunity to bring some good into this environment.”
Seattle have won four USOC trophies since their 2009 expansion season, tied with the Chicago Fire for the most of any club. Given the team’s recent struggles in league play, however, Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said that history of success in the tournament shouldn’t have any impact on Seattle’s motivation come Wednesday.
“There should be no challenge getting the team up for any game right now,” Schmid said on Monday. “We need to continue to build our confidence and continue to win games no matter what competition we’re in.”
Gomez seemed to echo that assessment, saying that the opportunity to bag a trophy shouldn’t be taken lightly in any context.
“At the end of the day, when you sit back and you hang up your boots, it’s not ‘Where’d you go? What’d you see?’” Gomez said. “It’s how many champions, how many finals [you’ve won]. Those are the things you’re measured by. So it’s a great opportunity.”
Following Wednesday’s game, the Sounders will return to MLS play with another road matchup – this time with Sporting Kansas City on Sunday. Forward Clint Dempsey should be able to make his return to the lineup after missing the game against Portland after he picked up a red card in Seattle’s 5-0 victory over FC Dallas last week.
Seattle will be without midfielder Osvaldo Alonso against SKC, however, due to a suspension for yellow card accumulation.
“We’ve been missing players at various times in various games,” Schmid said. “We’ve just got to continue to put our guys on the field that are available. We’ve got those guys so now they’ve got to step up and perform”