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Everything you need to know about Sounders-Louisville City

Sounders will host Louisville

Last Updated
4 min read
Ray Serrano has three goals and three assists for Louisville City this year. | Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

No MLS teams enjoy quite the rich U.S. Open Cup history of the Seattle Sounders. From 2007-2014, the Sounders went 28-2-5 in the Open Cup, advanced as far as the semifinals in 7 of 8 seasons, made five finals and won four titles while playing in two different leagues.

Of course, it has now been 10 years since those heady days of Open Cup domination and things have changed quite a bit. The Sounders have only won as many as two games in the tournament once in seven appearances, a stretch that has not-so-coincidentally dove-tailed with a format change that no longer allows teams to “buy” home games.

Much of the Sounders’ Open Cup success has been built at Starfire Stadium, where tonight’s Round of 32 match against the USL Championship’s Louisville City will be played. Dating back to 2005 when they were in the USL, the Sounders are 24-1-2 at Starfire.

Like last year when they needed a 120+1’ penalty kick to dispatch the San Diego Loyal, the Sounders are expected to have their hands full when they host Louisville City, who are off to a 6-1-0 start in league play and come into this game fully rested after getting Kentucky Derby weekend off. LouCity boast a high-flying offense that has scored 22 goals in seven games, including at least five on three separate occasions.

Here’s what you should know about the game:

Louisville City flying in USL Championship

Yes, LouCity is off to a great start but really this is just a continuation of one of the most impressive runs in North American professional soccer. Since first launching as a third-division side in 2015, LouCity have advanced at least as far as their conference finals in all nine seasons, made the championship game in four seasons and won the whole thing twice (in 2017-18, their first two years after joining the second division).

Although their roster only has a handful of players with MLS experience — and mostly as deep reserves — this is a well-seasoned bunch. Most of their starters are solidly in the prime of their careers, all with multiple professional seasons of experience under their belts.

Their leading scorer is Wilson Harris, who already has seven goals this season. Since moving to LouCity from the Sporting KC organization, Harris has scored 31 goals in about 4,500 minutes. He will be a handful.

The defense is led by New Zealand international Kyle Adams, who Sounders fans may remember from the Loyal game last year. The 27-year-old scored an absolutely ridiculous second-half stoppage-time goal to force the game into overtime. Adrien Perez, a forward, also started for the Loyal in that game.

Ray Serrano’s return

LouCity boasts three players with ties to the Sounders, goalkeeper Daniel Faundez (who played for Sounders 2 in 2015), wingback Jake Morris (who played for the Sounders Academy from 2016-18 and made four appearances with Sounders 2) and, most notably, Ray Serrano.

Serrano is a Moses Lake native who first joined the Sounders Academy in 2016 before becoming one of the organization’s youngest-ever professionals signings in 2018. Serrano, still just 21, helped the Sounders Academy win the 2019 GA Cup alongside current first-teamers like Josh Atencio, Cody Baker and Danny Leyva; and would eventually make 53 appearances for Tacoma Defiance, scoring seven goals.

Not really seeing a clear path to the first team, the Sounders and Serrano parted ways before the 2022 season when he joined LouCity. Now healthy and settled, Serrano is blossoming in Year 3, with three goals and three assists in seven appearances.

Heavy rotation

While reclaiming Open Cup glory is something the Sounders are interested in, don’t expect them to roll out a squad of regular starters either. The Sounders are in the midst of a stretch of games in which they will play seven times in three weeks and will effectively be forced to rotate.

That doesn’t mean Brian Schmetzer is going to run out a team of Defiance players, though. Everyone that starts tonight will almost certainly have at least some MLS experience. Among the regulars who will likely feature are Alex Roldan, Josh Atencio, Dylan Teves, Danny Musovski, Cody Baker, Léo Chú and Andrew Thomas.

The Defiance players who have been placed on short-term loans are Georgi Minoungou (who made his MLS debut on Sunday), Osaze De Rosario (who spent the last two seasons in the Canadian Premier League), Kalani Kossa-Rienzi (the Sounders’ first-round draft pick who was one of the last preseason cuts), Snyder Brunell and Tino Lopez.

Still, the Sounders should be plenty motivated if for no other reason than they are one of only seven MLS teams remaining in the tournament — after the Houston Dynamo were eliminated last night — and this is the quickest path to a 2025 Concacaf Champions Cup berth.

“We want to win a trophy, it’s as simple as that,” Thomas told reporters on Tuesday. “It’s five games between us and a Champions League berth. There’s no feeling like raising a championship trophy and we’ve won this before.”


Where: Starfire Stadium, Tukwila

When: 7:30 PM

Streaming: YouTube