The Sounders U23s began their first Open Cup campaign on Tuesday with a dominating performance, beating USASA side Doxa Italia 5-1 behind 4 goals from David Geno.
Washington forward and Sounders Academy alumnus Darwin Jones opened the scoring in the 13th and then Geno — who plays his college ball for East Tennessee State — took over. He scored all four in the first half (19', 36', 38', 45'), essentially ending the game in the first 45 minutes. In the second half the team was content to keep the ball, and though they did allow one Doxa goal off of a free kick in the 68th, by that point the outcome was never really in doubt.
Even with the slower pace of the second half, the Sounders outshot Doxa 16-5 in the match and didn't give up a single corner. The strong performance has the team picking up where they left off last season, when they made it to the national PDL semifinals in their first year of existence.
This win avoids an upset, but from here on out they'll be the underdogs. Next week they travel to the east coast to face USL Pro team Charlotte Eagles. And if they get the win there, they'll face an MLS team when the top division enters the competition in two weeks.
The regular season opens in just two days when the team travels to Jeld-Wen to take on the Timbers U23s (who also won their first round Open Cup match against NPSL's Sacramento Gold 3-2). Then they travel to Victoria on Sunday before heading to Charlotte two days later.
The team includes a number of Sounders Academy grads (and therefore potential Home Grown signings), including Huskies Jones, Michael Gallagher, and Ian Lange; Stanford's Aaron Kovar; as well as Stefan Bangsund, Chase Hanson, Nick Raskasky, Jordan Schweitzer, Justin Solomon, and Austin Sweeney from outside the Pac 12.