We start with Sam Rogers.
Rogers is the captain, part of the leadership team. He knows the U.S. Open Cup. He played in it back in 2017, twice. In that first match he helped Sounders FC beat Portland Timbers. As a Ballard kid who grew into a professional through the Sounders Academy he knows Sounders-Timbers as well as anyone.
As a Defiance player with a history of dominance over the Timbers, he looks forward to the chance to face Portland again.
“It’s always good to play them. It’s a rivalry and it’s good to be playing in that kind of competition. It’s a good tournament. Everyone wants to do well in it so we can keep going.”
It’s a large carrot to dangle in front of an assertive player. Big Sam knows there’s one more week to show he has what it takes to perform in the elimination tournament. He also knows that Portland is there. A little vengeance may be on his mind.
Timbers 2 beat Tacoma Defiance in the first meeting this year. It was an unusual result in USL play, as the organization has dominated Portland at the USL level (12-4-0). Rogers may just want to correct that previous result.
The match being at Cheney Stadium is a huge draw for the centerback.
“It’s a great stadium, great field, good atmosphere. I think an Open Cup is going to be crowded place to play and I think will be looking forward to that. It’s going to be a good game for Tacoma fans to come out to, and Sounders fans too.”
Rogers has 180 minutes in the oldest ongoing sports competition in the United States. He hopes that Schmetzer gives him a few more.
Sam Rogers is 20 and is in his third year as a professional. The centerback has two goals in his 3,755 minutes. He is a frequent call up to United States Youth National Teams. With Tacoma Defiance this season he wins 70% of his aerial duels. His professional record against Portland is 5-1-0 with a goal.
Sounders FC will take on the Portland Timbers at Cheney Stadium in the 4th Round of the 2019 U.S. Open Cup. For ticket information click here.