Sounders FC

Sounders ousted, but Open Cup ripples remain

The Seattle Sounders stay in the 2015 U.S. Open Cup ended 120 minutes after it started.

But the impact of that 3-1 extra-time loss to the Portland Timbers on Tuesday could linger longer and influence much more than that one result.

What is certain is that the Sounders’ defense of their Open Cup title and their pursuit of a fifth tournament championship is done. What isn’t yet known is how steep a price they will pay beyond that loss to a heated rival.

Club goals co-leader Obafemi Martins was carted off the pitch after suffering a lower-body injury late in regulation. He was scheduled to undergo a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test Wednesday, but the club is not expected to update his condition until around midday Thursday.

Also in question is possible discipline for Clint Dempsey in the aftermath of a game that saw three Sounders banished by red cards.

Brad Evans was sent off on two yellows, and Micheal Azira on a straight red for what was ruled a dangerous tackle. However, after Azira was banished, Dempsey approached referee Daniel Radford, grabbed his book, threw it to the ground, picked it up, tore it and threw it down again.

U.S. Soccer rules address players damaging a referee’s personal property under the category of “assault,” and the prescribed penalty is suspension for “at least three months.”

There was no announcement from U.S. Soccer on Wednesday. And the matter is complicated because Open Cup penalties are usually restricted to that competition. In this case, it is assumed that Evans, Azira and Dempsey will be ineligible for the Sounders’ first match in the 2016 Open Cup because missing the next game in that competition — even if it carries over a year — is the standard penalty after a red card.

A red card in the Open Cup would usually have no bearing on availability for Major League Soccer games or with the U.S. national team. However, if Dempsey’s actions are considered out of the ordinary, the scope of the discipline could be, too. The Open Cup is the club championship of U.S. Soccer, the sport’s governing body in this country.

In a postgame interview, Schmid directed his anger at the decisions of Radford and his assistants, while offering no direct criticism of his team’s reactions to those decisions.

“I think there was frustration from our players,” he said. “With Azira, I don’t think it (deserved) a red card. And with Clint Dempsey, his reaction was what it was. On the same token, when a linesman tells you that (Portland’s winning) goal is not offside because (defender Dylan Remick) played the ball to the guy, it looked to me it was a shot deflected. … You tell me Remick played the ball. I don’t think so.”

Any potential silver linings could come later. Schmid implied his team could bond in us-against-the-world frustration. And the club certainly will have less schedule congestion as it continues toward CONCACAF Champions League this summer, in addition to resumption of their Major League Soccer season Saturday when the San Jose Earthquakes visit.

“It’s got to serve as motivation and fuel to do everything we can in the league, to win another Supporters’ Shield, to do well in the Champions League, and do well in MLS Cup,” Schmid said. “It’s disappointing for it to end like this, to force your team to play seven on 11.”

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