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My Favorite USL Players are Cut, and My Heart is Broken

I love preseason. I hate preseason.

If you're a fan who feels team moves down in your gut, you know what I mean. This is particularly true for Sounders USL fans this year, when our boys are trying to make the jump to MLS from USL.

We (meaning the USL Sounders and the fans) have bonded over the past few years. I can't say that I made it to a lot of games last year, given that Sounders played in freakin' Starfire in Tukwila. (Because true love only carries us so far. Meaning, y'know, Bellevue. Or maybe north Renton.) But I was there in spirit, and I was at a fair number of games in the amazing 2007 season, where they won USL and made it to what, the semifinals of the US Open Cup (?) after an amazing run that included a slaughtering of both Chivas USA (3-1) and the Colorado Rapids (5-0)!!! And they held their own against FC Dallas in the semis, only losing in extra time.

It was an amazing run and an amazing year. So when we were give then MLS franchise a couple of months later, I automatically assumed that a fair number of the players who had gone the distance with Sounders would make the team for Sounders FC.

Alas, in the past few days, we're seeing most of the guys get cut. Today we can add Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar, Kenji Treschuk, Kevin Sakuda, John Fishbaugher and Youssouf Kante to the list of those who've been let go. Add these to the earlier-released Nik Besagno, Andre Schmid, Jason Cascio and Craig Tomlinson and we have a painful number.

This stings. Especially Treschuk and Alcaraz-Cuellar -- guys I always thought lit up the field when they played in the USL. (I was watching the 2007 final on TV, and I will never forget the look on Kenji Treschuk's face after the win. Pure ecstasy. It is killing me that we won't see that look again.)

I know this is all in the name of building the best team, but what about a little nod to tradition and history and the folks who were fans of the team well before a certain Swedish underwear model was a part of the equation?

Sigh.