The US Open Cup game tonight between San Jose Earthquakes and the Seattle Sounders looked good ( really good) when I first looked at the fixture last week, hosts are playing at San Francisco's Kezar Stadium (see photograph) which is almost a neutral venue and have not played a home game of any sort in 38 days. They have just completed a four game road trip, which included trips to Colorado and Slt Lake in the last six days, if that was not bad enough, at the weekend, they have what is being hyped up as the biggest game in recent history, when the Western Division leaders host current champions and resurgent LA Galaxy at Stanford Stadium, the match is set to be a 50,000 sell out, only a few tickets remain and is being nationally televised. It is being called the Bay Area sporting event of the summer ( not sure about that !) and gives this Lamar Hunt cup quarter final tonight low priority, we should see plenty of rotation from the "hosts".
No fear of Seattle not taking the competition seriously, not only are they the current holders of the cup, but they have won it three straight years and are looking to make it four in a row. The Sounders are desperate for a victory of any sort after going seven MLS starts without a win, following a very promising start to their campaign during which they won seven of their first nine matches. I would be ultra keen on them tonight getting a 0.25 handicap start in asia, BUT they played at Portland on Sunday night, the Earthquakes in Salt Lake on Saturday, so the benefits of playing a strong line up, are offset by the fact that those players will only have had a single rest day between games.
That, and the fact that confidence is low within the Sounders camp is enough to stop me putting it up as an "official" selection, however, they will come good sooner or later and these cup games have a very different feel from MLS fixtures and the visitors do have players coming back from injury. Michael Gspurning and Adam Johansson are on the verge of recovering from their injuries and Patrick Ianni and Leo Gonzalez are both back, which will strengthen the defense Steve Zakuani is easing back into his first appearance of the season, having already made the squad against Sporting Kansas City last midweek and we might see a couple of these tonight. On the Sounders website , coach Sigi Schmid said that the team doesn’t need to undergo any sort of overhaul to get back on track.“The pieces are here. We played with quality last year and we played with quality at the beginning of the year this year,”
I have to pass, but if "pushed"could only go with Sounders, as Earthquakes have such a massive game ahead, a fixture which is huge in terms of the whole future development of the franchise.
However, I do have two red type selections for today .....THE REST OF TODAY'S NOTES ARE RESTRICTED.