Cal FC's memorable Open Cup run enabled a band of free agents like Danny and Diego Barrera to step back into the spotlight and remind professional clubs of their capabilities.
The fourth-round match with Seattle Tuesday also allowed Cal FC coach Eric Wynalda, the Westlake High product, to go head to head with the man he credits with starting his playing career, Seattle coach Sigi Schmid.
"If you want to talk about the most ironic part about all of this," Wynalda said, "I don't have a career without Sigi Schmid."
Wynalda retold the story of how Schmid pulled a 16-year-old Wynalda into the Olympic Development system after he had been overlooked.
"I would have never been a soccer player if he didn't show up on a Saturday morning in Simi Valley in 1986, sit in a lawn chair and watch me play," Wynalda said. "That was the very beginning of my career.
"If there was any lesson I learned from Sigi Schmid, it was to trust your instincts, never give up on people and never stop looking because they're out there."
Schmid, who recommended the future all-time leading scorer to U.S. coach Bob Gansler, told his side of the story to the Seattle-area press.
"I've always felt he's had a ton of talent," Schmid told the Tacoma News Tribune.
"Eric's always been a very free spirited and independent individual, which, as a forward, was a very good quality to have because he had the little bit of independence of mind and thought and determination and belief in himself and it carried him an awful long way."
Following Seattle's 5-0 win, Schmidt recommended Wynalda yet again, telling Fox Soccer Channel cameras that the Cal FC coach had shown he could be a professional coach.
"Eric has shown that he can do a great job," Schmid said. "One of the biggest parts of coaching is recognizing talent and being able to bring players in that you think can play, then you have to give them belief. As a manager he's done that."