Sounders Insider

Sounders will start Open Cup at Tampa Bay Rowdies

us-open-cup1The Tampa Bay Rowdies of the North American Soccer League beat VSI Tampa Bay FC of USL Pro, 2-1, tonight in Plant City, Fla. (Rowdies game coverage here.)

That sets up a Rowdies-Sounders FC match at 4:30 p.m. May 29 at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Fla.

That is a match the Sounders very much had hoped to avoid, as you can see from the pre-game quotes below. Pregame: The NASL Tampa Bay Rowdies will meet VSI Tampa Bay FC of USL Pro at 4:30 PT today. Here's a preview from VSI Tampa Bay; here's a preview from the Rowdies.

If the Rowdies win, the Sounders will travel to Tampa Bay for a third-round U.S. Open Cup match next week. If VSI Tampa Bay wins, they will travel to Starfire Sports Stadium in Tukwila.

Which gives the Sounders a bit of a rooting interest.

"Selfishly not thrilled with the idea of going from LA to Tampa," Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer said today when asked about the draw. "I maintain that if U.S. Soccer got more smart people in the room that maybe there would be ways to figure this out that didn’t have one team playing 15 minutes from their home and another team playing 3,000 miles from their home. That said, I know that it’s complex. Not to simplify it, but to some degree either every team has to travel 500 miles or 14 of 16 teams play close to home and two teams have to travel a very long way. So, I know LA and Seattle probably got the short end of the stick in this particular case, which, again, doesn’t make me happy as a general manager of a team potentially traveling 3,000 miles, knowing the issues we’re having with the airlines on Memorial Day weekend. It’s a nightmare. So now we’re trying to travel on Memorial Day Monday, and the stipend that U.S. Soccer provides is going to cover about 20 percent of the trip. So that’s a little bit frustrating, but we’ll grin and bear it, and grit our teeth and be where we need to be when we need to be there and play a game. And – fingers crossed – VSI Tampa can pull off a win and play up here."