SEATTLE — In each of their previous four trips to the US Open Cup finals, the Seattle Sounders have had to deal with some significant schedule congestion.
What potentially awaits them in the early stages of this year's tournament is something new, as they will have to play three games between May 26 and June 1 and may also have to fly across the country twice to do it.
Predictably, that doesn't sit too well with Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid.
"The only place we could have played is Miami that's farther," Schmid said of their potential third-round match against the NASL's Tampa Bay Rowdies. "For us, it presents a unique problem. I know Bruce Arena mentioned their problem, but our problem is worse."
Schmid was referencing the LA Galaxy manager's criticism on Wednesday of learning that his team would be forced to travel cross-country to North Carolina for their USOC match. But there's at least a chance the Sounders can play all three of their games on the West Coast.
On May 29, Seattle face the second-round match between the Rowdies and the USL Pro's VSI Tampa Bay, whom the Sounders would host if they won. Either way, they have a road game in MLS play against the Galaxy on May 26 and need to be back in LA for another road game on June 1 against Chivas USA. They also have a Reserve League game against Chivas USA on June 2.
"It's definitely not optimal," Schmid said.
Ill feelings over the US Open Cup draw is nothing new for Schmid, who last year openly questioned the integrity of coin-flips that seemingly always go against the Sounders.
He was at least more measured in his criticism this time.
"Last year I got in trouble, so I don't want to say too much about it," he said. "I'm never quite sure if they redraw it every round, if it's done on a regional basis. Sometimes you think it's region when D.C. is playing Richmond and Chivas is playing the LA Blues.
"Other times, you see LA playing Carolina and we're playing Tampa so it doesn't look very regional at all. Just lay it out there, let everyone see and put a bracket out there in the beginning and that way there's no ifs, ands or buts."