Thursday, July 13, 2006

US Open Cup Match Announced

DC United vs. Columbus Crew
Tuesday, 8/1/2006
Maryland Soccerplex, Germantown, Maryland

DC United will be hosting the Columbus Crew in the 4th round of the US open Cup at the Soccerplex. The match is at 7:30pm. Funny as it might seem, United have never faced the Crew in Open Cup play.

The US Open Cup (USOC) is a really funny thing here in America. It is the official championship of the USSF, yet it really means nothing, other than the title. What I mean is, in other countries, the club that wins the national Cup, The FA Cup, German Cup, things like that, they are also rewarded with entry into a larger knock out tournament, in UEFA's case, the UEFA Cup. The USOC winner just gets the trophy. I am not saying that this is that bad a thing, but I feel that if the tournament and the Cup itself would become more important if USSF would allocate a tournament berth for its winner.

As of right now the USSF has ties to the CONCACAF Champions Cup, and I assume the Copa Sudamericana, as DC United took part in it last season and LA I believe are to take part in it this season. The CONCACAF Champions Cup has two USSF slots, both designated for MLS clubs, the MLS Cup winner and now the Supporters Shield winner (club with the best regular season record). It used to be the two MLS Cup finalists. The MLS Cup Champion gets a berth into the Copa Sudamericana.

If the USSF were to allocate the USOC Champion the second slot in the CONCACAF Champions Cup tournament, I think that it might provide a little boost to how MLS clubs and fans approach the tournament. It would mean that if a club's season is going down the tubes, yet they are still alive in the USOC, as MLS clubs never have to worry about relegation, they can rest their main players during MLS matches, giving new players some looks, and have them ready for the USOC.

However, on the flip side of this, I do agree with giving the MLS Cup Champion and the Supporters Shield winner the two Champions Cup slots, as it rewards the best club of the season as well as the MLS Cup winner. I think the only way USSF and MLS would be able to agree to having the USOC Champion getting one of the Champions Cup slots is if MLS removed the Supporters Shield slot, but MLS is intent on giving some type of reward to the best regular season club, so I do not see it happening.

As for DC United, I want them to approach the USOC as they have approached everything else this season, to win it. We are on the fast track to picking up the Supporters Shield this season, and as long as we maintain our form, we should be the odds on favorite for the MLS Cup as well. If those two awards count as championships, then winning the USOC would give United a treble, (not to even try and compare this type of treble to the 1999 Manchester United Treble), which would be an awesome accomplishment for the club this season.


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