Sounders U-23 opened its season and the U.S. Open Cup with a 5-1 mauling of Doxa Italia of California on Tuesday at Sunset Chevrolet Stadium in Sumner.
All of the U-23 goals came in the first half, and four of them came from David Geno, a forward from Kingsport, Tenn., and East Tennessee State University.
Geno’s goals all came in the first half. He became the 10th player to score four goals in U.S. Open Cup competition since 1995 (when such record began being kept). The tournament record is six.
Doxa Italia came in with a reputation as a Southern California men’s league power. They have won the CSL Premier Division league title five out of the last nine years, were USASA National Amateur Cup runners up in 2011, when they also made their first Open Cup appearance. They got their lone goal in the 68th minute.
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However, Sounders U-23 jumped ahead in the 13th minute with a goal from Darwin Jones, from the University of Washington. Then came the four straight goals from Geno.
Sounders U-23 advances to the second round, where it will visit the USL Pro Charlotte Eagles on May 21.
Sounders U-23 opens its Premier Development League season Thursday at Portland.
Here's some of what coach Darren Sawatzky and Geno had to say afterward:
SAWATZKYSoccer’s a player’s game. A young guy from Tennessee came out and said ‘This is why I want to be in Seattle.’ … If that’s any indication of where he’s headed, it’s a good pick up. … At the end of the day I think a lot of kids want an opportunity to showcase themselves in front of MLS coaches, and with Sigi and some of the staff here tonight it’s always good for them to get seen.
On the second round: We go to North Carolina, but we have to league games before that even happens. We’ve got to go play Portland, which is a very very good team and a well-coached team. We’ll see: We’ve got to go find some flights too.
GENOOn how he got from Tennessee to Washington:I’m lucky enough to have family up here, and my assistant coach and head coach at ETSU knew Darren, and I was lucky enough to be able to get up here. … MY family up here is obviously huge fans of the Sounders, and I like them just from that. It worked out that I was able to play up here. It’s a perfect setup really.
On his four goals: Everybody played so well today. I was just on the end of some perfect balls in. I had the easy part, really.
Second half: ... has begun. Geno has been subbed out. He is the ninth player to have four goals in a U.S. Open Cup match since 1995. The tournament record (since 1995) is six goals in a game.
Halftime: Sounders U-23 up 5-0. Four of the goals by David Geno.
First half stoppage time: Fourth goal of night by David Geno. Sounders U-23 goes up 5-0.
38th minute: David Geno makes it a first-half hat trick. Sounders, 4-0. Geno is a forward from Kingsport, Tenn., and East Tennessee State University.
36th minute: GOAL Sounders U-23. David Geno knocking it into a mostly open net after nice cross from Darwin Jones.Sounders, 3-0.
19th minute: GOAL Sounders U-23, David Geno with a nice return after good save by Doxa Italia. Original shot was by Mauricio DeLeon. Sounders U-23, 2-0.
13th minute: GOAL Sounders U-23. Darwin Jones of UW wins 1-on-1 battle with Doxa Italia keeper. U-23s, 1-0.
First kick: Has been struck. Sounders in rave/blue; Doxa in white/black.
Pregame: It's a beautiful day at Sunset Chevrolet Stadium in Sumner, where the Sounders U-23 will meet Doxa Italia of Southern California in a U.S. Open Cup first-round match.
(Sounders U-23 will play three PDL home games here, and first impressions are good: easy parking, covered seating, spacious press box, lush-looking new turf -- although slathered with gridiron lines and numbers.)
I'll keep this blog updated with news as the game progresses, primarily scores as they happen and then some reaction after the match.
Meanwhile, here's a little background on the opponent and the stakes of this single-elimination match:
Doxa Italia is a formidable Southern California soccer club with a history of success inside and outside of California. They’ve won the CSL Premier Division league title five out of the last nine years, were USASA National Amateur Cup runners up in 2011, and that same year, Doxa made their first appearance in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
The winner of Tuesday’s U.S. Open Cup match will advance to face USL PRO team Charlotte Eagles at Queens University of Charlotte Sports Complex on May 21st. The loser is out of the single elimination style tournament.