A Sounders friend is the enemy on Tuesday
Beware of a Seattle soccer buddy in enemy clothing. Sounders FC broadcaster Pete Fewing is in an uncomfortable position Tuesday night.
It’s Round 3 of the U.S. Open Cup, America’s longest running soccer tournament, which allows amateur clubs to play the professionals. Seattle is the two-time defending U.S. Open Cup champions.
Kitsap Pumas of Bremerton are the Sounders’ opponent. They play in the USL Premier Development League and defeated Chivas Patriots of Texas El Paso Christian in the opening round. Pumas then eliminated the visiting Real Colorado Foxes 3-1 last week.
Fewing has been Kitsap’s head coach since 2009, and sees the Tuesday night match against Seattle as “David versus Goliath.”
“I’m fired up,” Fewing said on Sunday’s radio post-game show after Sounders FC defeated New England Revolution. “I’m fully aware that Seattle is loaded, and they are interchangeable. I think we’re in for a real battle. They will not come into that match and take us lightly.”
Pumas have some local talent on the roster, including Nik Besagno of Maple Valley, Wash. He was a first round MLS draft pick as a 16-year-old, and a Generation Adidas player.
Fewing has enjoyed success as a player and coach. He starred at the University of Washington before joining the old FC Seattle Storm. As head coach at Seattle University, he produced an NAIA national championship.
Winning trophies of any type are important to Sounders FC general manager Adrian Hanauer.
“All I know is we take it very seriously,” said Hanauer. “Any tournament we play in we want to win. Everyone in the organization is too competitive to not want to win it.”
How has Seattle been able to fare so well in the U.S. Open Cup? Sounders FC midfielder Brad Evans sees the intimate Starfire Stadium in Tukwila as part of the reason.
“We’ve sort of made this place a fortress,” Evans told me. “Teams don’t like coming in here and playing in these smaller dimensions, where fans are sort of sitting right on top of you. We’ve won some big Open Cup games away, too.”
Another part of Seattle’s championship formula has been its roster depth and a successful, undefeated, reserve team. The Sounders will have plenty of fresh bodies to face the Pumas.
Tuesday night’s U.S. Open Cup is not on radio or television, but Arlo White will have the videocast play-by-play at 7 p.m. on the Sounders FC’s website.