Houston features several personalities with Northwest ties, including two former A-League/USL-1 Sounders. Central defender Craig Waibel played for Seattle from 1999-02 following his collegiate career at Washington. Forward Cam Weaver was the Sounders’ top scorer in 2005 as a rookie out of Seattle University. Weaver had helped the Redhawks win the NCAA Division II championship in 2004. Brian Ching, currently with the U.S. National Team for the CONCACAF Gold Cup, starred at Gonzaga and made the all-league team with the Sounders in 2002. Dominic Kinnear, the Dynamo head coach, played for the Sounders’ 1995 A-League championship team.
Mike Chabala also played his collegiate career at Washington. Backup goalkeeper Tally Hall is a native of Gig Harbor. Danny Cruz of the Dynamo was a college teammate of Seattle’s Lamar Neagle at UNLV and Kei Kamara was a teammate of James Riley in San Jose in 2008.
Available for the Cup
All three players currently on the MLS disabled list are eligible to play in Open Cup matches. Goalkeeper Chris Eylander (left knee medial bone bruise) and central defender Taylor Graham (right metatarsal fracture) each played in one play-in match. Michael Fucito (right foot sesamoiditis), also on the disabled list, is also available for selection. Making his first appearance of the season, Fucito played the final 16 minutes of the Chelsea friendly.
Two members of the Sounders FC came north from Houston during the offseason. Nate Jaqua played parts of the past two seasons for the Dynamo, scoring 10 goals and six assists in 29 regular season appearances during 2007 and ’08. His goal against Kansas City in the 2007 Western Conference final helped Houston repeat as MLS Cup champion. Jaqua came to Sounders FC via the expansion draft while Patrick Ianni was obtained in a January 26 trade for a conditional pick in the 2010 SuperDraft. Ianni spent his first three pro seasons wearing orange, making 35 league appearances for the Dynamo from 2006-08.
Sounders FC is unbeaten (5-0-1) in its six midweek matches to date. Seattle opened its inaugural season by beating New York, 3-0, on Thursday, March 19. Seattle has since won a pair of Tuesday night games in U.S. Open Cup Play-Ins, defeating both Real Salt Lake, 4-1, and Colorado, 1-0. Both were played at Starfire. The sole blemish was a 3-3 draw with D.C. United at home on June 17.
Both Open Cup wins occurred in midweek. Seattle won its third-round game on Wednesday, July 1, over the USL-1 Timbers, 2-1. Last Tuesday night it advanced to the semifinals by beating Kansas City, 1-0.
Cup History in Seattle
For the third year in a row a Seattle team has advanced to the semifinal stage of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The USL-1 Sounders reached this stage in both 2007 (against FC Dallas) and 2008 (Charleston)
If any U.S. Open Cup play-in game is tied at the end of regulation, a 30-minute extra time period (consisting of two 15-minute halves) shall be played in its entirety. If the score is still tied at the end of the 30-minute extra time period, the game shall be decided by a penalty kick tiebreaker. Teams are limited to five foreign players on the 18-player match roster.