I must admit, I didn't know much about the United States Adult Soccer Association before this week. To be honest, I still don't. But there's one thing I do know. I love the U.S. Open Cup. "If you don't like this tournament, you may as well hate the American Dream," a wise man said yesterday. No one hates the American Dream. And no one can hate Cal FC.
We are all Cal FC.
The team is coached and owned in part by legendary American forward Eric Wynalda, but his name might as well be David because he's facing Goliath embodied in the Seattle Sounders. The Sounders invented the U.S. Open Cup 99 years ago, and they've won the tournament three consecutive years now. They must and will be stopped. Maybe by Cal FC on Tuesday. Or maybe by D.C. United in the Final.
If for whatever reasons you hold ill feelings against Wynalda (like if your name is John Harkes), its time to set those aside. But Wynalda isn't the only individual connected to Cal FC with a name that hardcore American soccer fans will recognize. The team's star is Danny Barrera, a 22-year old attacking midfielder who once represented his country. as the youngest member of the U.S. team in the 2007 Pan-American Games. After showing plenty of potential in college at UC Santa Barbara, Barrera made a short and wildly unsuccessful trip to the Serbian league before returning home to California, joining Cal FC, and twice playing the hero - scoring two goals in each of the tournament's first two rounds.
The Kitsap Pumas and Wilmington Hammerheads were no match for Cal FC. The Portland Timbers posed more of a challenge, but the better team ultimately was victorious at JELD-WEN Field on Wednesday night. That same team will be victorious once again one week later in Seattle. Its destiny can be contained no longer.
The Seattle Sounders vs. Cal FC match is scheduled for Tuesday June 5 at 10:00 PM Eastern, and will be televised on Fox Soccer.
"I think we are the ultimate Cinderella story -- that’s for sure," Wynalda said. "A bunch of misfit kids who did something unbelievable. This is what this Cup is about."