The game is set.
Sounders FC will travel to face the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the second-tier North American Soccer League in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup. The May 29 game will kick off at 4:30 p.m. at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Fla.
The Rowdies eliminated VSI Tampa Bay of the third-tier USL PRO by a 2-1 score in Tuesday’s second-round game.
The Sounders, who would’ve hosted VSI on May 29, will now face a nine-day travel itinerary of Seattle -> Los Angeles -> Tampa -> Los Angeles -> Seattle.
Here it is in schedule form:
May 26 — at Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS)
May 29 — at Tampa Bay Rowdies (U.S. Open Cup third round)
June 1 — at Chivas USA (MLS)
June 2 — at Chivas USA (MLS Reserve League)
“Selfishly, not thrilled with the idea of going from L.A. to Tampa,” said general manager Adrian Hanauer on Tuesday. “I maintain that if U.S. Soccer got more smart people in the room that maybe there would be ways to figure this out that didn’t have one team playing 15 minutes from their home and another team playing 3,000 miles from their home. That said, I know that it’s complex. Not to simplify it, but to some degree either every team has to travel 500 miles or 14 of 16 teams play close to home and two teams have to travel a very long ways.
“So, I know L.A. and Seattle probably got the short end of the stick in this particular case, again, which doesn’t make me happy as a general manager of a team potentially traveling 3,000 miles, knowing the issues we’re having with the airlines on Memorial Day weekend. It’s a nightmare. So now we’re trying to travel on Memorial Day Monday, and the stipend that U.S. Soccer provides is going to cover about 20 percent of the trip. So that’s a little bit frustrating, but we’ll grin and bear it, and grit our teeth and be where we need to be when we need to be there and play a game.”
Any thoughts on the matchup or travel itinerary?