Thursday, September 28, 2006

US Open Cup Champions - Chicago Fire

Well, I was wrong. You can add that to about the 1 million predictions in my life that have gone a different way. Here is one more prediction that I am correct on...I will be wrong again.

The Chicago Fire won the 2006 US Open Cup Championship last night with a 3-1 victory over the defending chumps, the LA Galaxy. The Galaxy quickly fell behind the Fire, 2-0 by the time I even turned the match on, which was in the 25th minute. They pulled one back after the start of the second half, but Fire sub, Thiago scored near the 90 minute mark on one of the prettiest setup plays I have ever seen from an MLS club. The passing and play that setup his goal was so beautiful to see, I rank it second to the play that United had on Head Gear's goal against Real Madrid.

Well, congratulations to the Fire, hopefully, that is the only silverware you get this season. I feel that you all should receive a berth in the CONCACAF Champions Cup for winning the trophy, but for some reason, you don't. Sorry about that.

On a different note, as I was folding my laundry while the FSC folks were showing the trophy ceremony, I was a little miffed at something I heard about the Fire's run in the USOC. They never played away from Toyota Park during the tournament. They hosted every match they were in. I understand trying to have the matches in SSS, but in this type of tournament, I really feel that the USSF needs to give some help to what is the visiting clubs. One way to do that is to have the Semi-Finals and the Finals in neutral venues. Doing so would really require weekend scheduling to allow for the supporters groups to travel for the matches, but I really do not see any reason why the USSF would not migrate to this. Having one club play at home the entire run is really not that fair. Hell, the MLS playoffs don't give that much home field advantage, why should the USOC?

They can still use the SSS, just have the matches at other ones. Last night's match could have been in Columbus. The DC United vs. Chicago Fire matchup in the Semi-Finals could have been played in Columbus or Dallas, with the Houston Dynamo vs. LA Galaxy match taking place in Dallas or Chicago. That way you give neither team the local advantage. As a supporter I would be alittle miffed that my team was not playing at home, but from a competitive standpoint, I think it would be a good idea.

Well, the 2006 USOC is in the books, now we have the end of the MLS season and the playoffs. Let's get it on!


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