Monday, May 27, 2013

Gonzaga showdowns loom in US Open Cup Third Round as MLS enters mix

Ching may face current Zag |
Five current and former Gonzaga University men’s soccer players are headed toward a pair of head-to-head meetings in the Third Round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup on Wednesday, May 29. The matches in the 100th edition of the tournament will see the Seattle Sounders of MLS visiting the second-tier Tampa Bay Rowdies of the NASL and the MLS Houston Dynamo playing host to amateur FC Tucson of the PDL.

Bevans & Carter vs Ching

Conner Bevans
FC Tucson: In just their second year of existence, the club is beginning to make immediate history heading to Houston having already beaten nearby third division club Phoenix FC of USL Pro in a thrilling 2-1 win and knocked off the second-tier NASL San Antonio Scorpions on the road via penalties after a 2-2 draw. One of the key figures in both matches was 2012 Gonzaga freshman Conner Bevans. In an amazing story, he had trekked back to Tucson on the day of the game from Los Angeles where he was visiting his ill grandmother and was not sure if he would see the field. Not only did he come into the match, but his late entry was a thing of legend as he scored both goals in the final eight minutes, snaring the first just moments after his entry. Bevans came off the bench yet again in the second match with about a half-hour remaining in regulation and set up the 2-1 go-ahead goal for Tucson that nearly was the winner were it not for a late equalizer. The amateurs, however, held on through overtime and prevailed in the penalty kick tiebreaker. Gonzaga defender 2012 junior Greg Carter also played a big role, starting both matches for Tucson.

Houston Dynamo: Former Bulldog and US international Brian Ching has played a supportive role over the past year-and-a-half for the Dynamo as he nears retirement. The star striker has come off the bench in all 10 appearances for a total of 197 minutes. In the US Open Cup, however, MLS teams often use reserve players in their first game or two in the tournament before they make a serious challenge, and with the opponent Wednesday being an amateur club making a lengthy trip to Texas for the second straight week, that is very likely to be the case. In other words, don’t be surprised to see current Zag defender having to mark Ching as he potentially makes his first start of the year.

Brother vs Brother: Daniel Scott vs Zach Scott

Tampa Bay Rowdies: After helping lead the Rowdies to the NASL Soccer Bowl title last fall, Daniel Scott will now have a chance to square off against his older brother with major bragging rights on the line... again.  The two former Gonzaga defenders previously faced one another two years ago, but the younger, but bigger sibling at the time was playing for the PDL’s Kitsap Pumas, who acquitted themselves well in a 2-1 loss. Dan has started all three league matches and the First Round 2-1 win against USL Pro cross-town rival VSI Tampa Bay contest last week since he returned to the lineup.

Seattle Sounders: Older brother (by five years) Zach Scott already has plenty to brag about when it comes to the US Open Cup having been a part of the team’s history three-peat run from 2009-11 and a fourth consecutive championship game appearance last year.

More on the Scott-v-Scott match at Seattle Times [+]