After earning one shiny new cup for its trophy case, Seattle Sounders FC is ready to push for more.
After winning its fourth U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday, the Sounders will return to Major League Soccer play Saturday at New York. The game will figure in their efforts to add a Supporters’ Shield, and that in turn would provide home field advantage for their ultimate hope of winning an MLS Cup.
“We’ve got to go forward,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “We enjoyed the Open Cup, we enjoyed the victory. I wanted the team to feel good about it and enjoy it and celebrate it. But now it’s back to business. We’ve still got other goals this season, and this game on Saturday is important to achieving that.”
Sounders captain Brad Evans said something similar this week when asked about the possibility of becoming the first MLS team to win the three major trophies in a single season. But in making his point, he also gave a quick glance back at a topic the Sounders have largely tried to avoid.
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Evans began by saying the Sounders needed to enjoy their new Open Cup first. And he concluded by acknowledging “the opportunity (for a treble) is there and now it’s up to us to push forward.”
But in between, Evans brought up Seattle’s 1-6-3 finish to what was once a similarly promising 2013 season.
“We were in the position last year, though,” he said. “We had New York at home and we ended up tying. And then we picked up (one point over our next five games). So we learn from our mistakes, and it will be another good test Saturday.”
It’s an easy comparison because of several similarities.
Things went wrong last season when the Sounders were alone atop the MLS standings, as they are now.
And it started almost exactly at this point on the calendar: Seattle’s 0-4-3 end to the 2013 regular season began with a draw to Los Angeles on Sept 21.
Then it continued with another draw the following week against the New York Red Bulls, who once again await next on the schedule, this time in a game nationally televised from Red Bulls Arena in Harrison, New Jersey.
New face on defense
Seattle Sounders FC on Friday announced the signing of defender Onyekachi Apam, a veteran of France’s first division.
Apam, 27, made 128 appearances for Stade Rennes and OCG Niece. He also has 14 caps with the Nigeria national team.
"Onyekachi brings vast experience from French Lique 1 and the Nigerian national team," sporting director Chris Henderson said through a club release. "He is a versatile defender who can play central or wide and has the ability to start our attack from the back as well."
Apam will be added to the roster pending international transfer paperwork.
The club also announced that defender Damion Lowe and forward Kevin Parsemain were removed from the club's disabled list Sept. 15 and are eligible to participate in MLS games.
Lowe, 21, went on the DL April 10 after undergoing surgery on his left hip.
Parsemain, 26, suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament April 6 and underwent surgery April 22.