MLS Soccer

Sounders’ Open Cup journey begins at home

One of the ways Seattle Sounders FC made a name for itself was by winning the U.S. Open Cup in its 2009 expansion season — and then again, and again and again.

On Thursday, the club learned that its path to what would be an Open Cup record-tying fifth championship will begin at 7:30 p.m. June 15 at Starfire Sports Stadium, against either the Sacramento Republic (USL) or the Kitsap Pumas (PDL). Kitsap advanced to the third round with a 1-0 win over Pierce County-based Sounders U-23 on Wednesday in Bremerton.

“It’s good to be at home in the first game,” coach Sigi Schmid said.

Schmid spoke Thursday as the Sounders continued training for their Saturday night match against MLS-leading Colorado at CenturyLink Field.

In league play, the Sounders are 11 points behind the Rapids and four below the Western Conference playoff red line. However, Schmid indicated the club values Open Cup success and won’t dismiss the tournament based on MLS considerations.

“My belief has always been every game you enter into, you enter into the game to win,” he said. “Now who you play in those games — do you play some young guys? Do you rest some young guys? — that’s something that you take into account where you are. … But the Open Cup has served us well in the past in that sometimes when we’ve struggled in regular season, having good results in the Open Cup has propelled us also in league.”

Schmid will not be on the sideline for the Open Cup opener, and forward Clint Dempsey will miss the entire tournament. Both will be serving suspensions issued after the 2015 USOC loss to Portland in which Dempsey tore up a referee’s notebook and Schmid left the bench before the end of the game — later explaining he did so “because I was maybe going to choke a referee.”

Schmid later apologized and clarified that “in 40 years of coaching I’ve never touched a referee, nor would I ever.”

Open Cup tickets will be made available to season-ticket holders by presale starting Friday, and general ticket sales will begin Monday at SoundersFC.com.

SALARIES RELEASED

The MLS Players Union on Thursday released its annual list of player salaries.

According to their figures, Dempsey remains the highest-paid Sounder with a salary of $3.9 million and total guaranteed compensation of $4.6 million. The only other Sounder making seven figures is designated player Nelson Valdez: $1.2 million salary, $1.45 compensation. Midfielder Osvaldo Alonso, a former DP, is close at $900,000 and $941,667.

Jordan Morris, the recipient of the largest homegrown-player contract in MLS history, receives a salary of $178,000 and total compensation of $190,500.

“The mechanisms in the league are so strange that how completely accurate those are is often up to judgment,” Schmid said. “It is what it is. I know that’s something that’s not common in every work environment that you’re in, that you know what every employee makes that’s with you. It’s something that’s been that way since the league has started. I think guys are aware of it, and I think they all can handle it. They’re all adults.”

The full list of Seattle salaries is available on the Sounders Insider blog at thenewstribune.com.

ADDED TIME

Valdez was again held out of team work with a calf injury. Centerback Chad Marshall was held out as well. Schmid declined to give specifics on that injury but said Marshall had told him that he feels all right. Schmid also said midfielder Michael Farfan, who hasn’t played with the first team this season, is out with an adductor injury. … The Sounders return to training Friday.

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