Sounders Insider

Sounders ending training for Open Cup semifinal

The Sounders return to training this morning, preparing for their Open Cup semifinal Wednesday against Chicago and their return to league play Saturday at Salt Lake. We'll get to hear from coach Sigi Schmid after the session, and I'll pass along more then. Until then, this look ahead from the club:

Back atop the Supporters' Shield standings, Seattle Sounders FC continues its congested August schedule with two games across different competitions this week. Seattle will have the opportunity to return to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final in a midweek match and can further extend its lead in league play over the weekend.

In the search for its record fourth championship, Sounders FC hosts the Chicago Fire in the Open Cup Semifinals on Wednesday night at Starfire Stadium in Tukwila, Wash. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. PT and will be streamed live on SoundersFC.com with Ross Fletcher on the call.

In a top of the table clash, Sounders FC will continue its quest for the Supporters' Shield on Saturday against second-place Real Salt Lake. Kickoff is set for 11:30 a.m. PT at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. Saturday's match will be nationally televised on NBC Sports Network with John Strong and Brian Dunseth calling the action.

Sounders FC (13-6-2, 41 points) reclaimed the pole position with Sunday's 2-0 win over the Houston Dynamo. Marco Pappa and Gonzalo Pineda scored for Seattle as goalkeeper Stefan Frei recorded his seventh shutout of the season.

Seattle now shifts its focus to Wednesday's Open Cup contest against Chicago. In 2011, Seattle became the first MLS side to win three consecutive titles with a 2-0 win over the Fire, marking just the fourth three-peat winner in the 101-year history of the tournament.

After winning four championships from 1998-2006, Chicago returns to the semifinals for the second straight year, falling to eventual champions D.C. United last year, 2-0. Chicago has reached the semifinal of the tournament nine times in 16 years while Seattle has played in seven semifinals over the past eight years, twice reaching the semis as a USL side in 2007 and 2008.

Sounders FC returns to league play on Saturday afternoon at Real Salt Lake (10-4-9, 39 points) as the two sides battle for first place in the West. RSL is unbeaten in its past five outings (3-0-2), including back-to-back shutout victories.

Saturday's match marks the second meeting of the season between the two teams, as Sounders FC won, 4-0, at home in the previous matchup on May 31. Across all competitions, Seattle is 7-6-5 in the all-time series against Salt Lake, including 2-4-2 at Rio Tinto Stadium.

Following the week's action, Sounders FC concludes2dZ its stretch of five games in 14 days with a pair of league contests. Seattle hosts the San Jose Earthquakes on August 20 at CenturyLink Field before visiting the Portland Timbers on August 24 at Providence Park. The month will conclude on August 30 with a home match against the Colorado Rapids.

Tickets for Sounders FC home matches are available now at www.SoundersFC.com and 1-877-MLS-GOAL.

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