Seattle Sounders FC 2 is the last of the owned USL teams in the US Open Cup. Like the rest of the USL teams, this next round is not easy. S2 travels to Sandy, Utah in an attempt to unseat Real Salt Lake. RSL has struggled in the Open Cup. With the exception of the 2013 tournament when they made the Finals they've struggled. Overall Salt Lake is 6-8-1 -1 (four wins came in 2013 when they had a +7 GD) in Open Cup and qualifying play.
S2 went the full 120 in both of their previous Open Cup matches. Using a lineup with a handful of Academy players starting they beat the Kitsap Pumas (4-2 aet) and T2 (2-1 aet). Pablo Rossi has 3 goals in Open Cup play, Andy Craven has 2 and HGP Victor Mansaray has a single goal. Rossi is tied for second for the tournament lead.
Randal from RSL Soapbox answers Three Questions ahead of this Fourth Round US Open Cup match.
SaH: Real Salt Lake has struggled in the Open Cup (2013 being a notable exception). Is this just a fluke, or is there something within the organization that is the source of it?
RSLSB: It is clear that RSL has had trouble finishing the biggest games since they won MLS Cup in 2009. It's not just a problem that they have had in Open Cup. I chalk it up mostly to soccer being somewhat of a cruel sport and a little bit that Salt Lake has not stepped up even when the odds were in their favor, especially against DC United in the Open Cup Final two years ago. Consistency only counts for so much in MLS. You have to win trophies to really matter.
SaH: Since RSL had the weekend off are they going to throw out a strong XI?
RSLSB: I expect as decently strong of a starting lineup as possible to play in this match considering that a handful of their best players are gone on international duty and out to injury. They also have to take into account that they have a lot of games this month. RSL will at least have Javier Morales and Joao Plata Available so they should present a threat even if others are gone.
SaH: How are the fans taking this opportunity to see an Open Cup game against a lower division team?
RSLSB: I don't expect a sellout by any means. If I were to guess Inwould say there will be around 8,000 to 10,000 fans in attendance. In some years in the past the season tickets have included at least one Open Cup game, but not this year. The fact that they are facing off against the Sounders brand could help bring some people to the stadium though.
RSL Projected Lineup: Jeff Attinella, Justen Glad, Elias Vasquez, Aaron Maund, Tony Beltran, Wellington Pecka, John Stertzer, Luis Gil, Sebastian Saucedo, Joao Plata, Devon Sandoval
S2 Projected Lineup: Saif Kerawala; Giuliano Frano, Damion Lowe, Nick Miele, Tosh Samkange; Victor Mansaray, Amadou Sanyang, Aaron Long, Sam Garza; Pablo Rossi, Andy Craven
Lowe and Mansaray are already cup tied. Though only Academy players Samkange and Kerawala already have two Open Cup matches under their belt. The two CDM system allows Rossi to operate under Mansaray as a high winger and Craven as a target man.
That would also leave two international spots for Correa and Sergio with the Academy filling out the bench.