Thursday, July 12, 2007

DC United out of USOC

DC United were dumped from the USOC last night by the Harrisburg City Islanders 1-0. I was constantly checking for updates on DC United's USOC match. As the match was not on TV and the radio feeds weren't the greatest, this was my only real way of following the match. United fell short of advancing in the tournament and I am a little bitter about this.

Yes I understand that considering the schedule that United is facing in the next month or two, having one less tournament to play in while we have league matches, SuperLiga matches and Copa Sudamericana matches might be a good thing, but there is still a part of me that says that we should have sent a better squad for this match. However, I truly think that this result brings up several other problems that are larger than DC United.

Sending a reserve squad to the USOC match should not have been a problem, as an MLS reserve squad should not have had any problem with a third division side. If the reserves aren't good enough to step in and show why they are in the United uniform and the City Islanders aren't, why even have them in the club? Common sense says that the first division side should have better players from top to bottom; but we found out last night that maybe common sense isn't always right.

I think that the biggest problem with this entire tournament is that we don't have the different groups all getting on the same page with the scheduling. USSF, MLS, USL, USL2, PDL and whomever else takes part in the tournament should, IMHO, be able to get together far in advance and schedule these matches out to ensure that each side gets the best chance at the match. If you look at other leagues around the world, the EPL being one of them, the FA and the EPL work together to ensure that the scheduling for the FA Cup matches do not fall at awkward times in the clubs schedules.

You don't have situations where Chelsea play a league match on a Thursday night, then another league match Sunday night, then an FA Cup match Tuesday night; just as the Houston Dynamo did this last week. The end result was the Thursday night match was the best of the three performances, the Sunday night match was a rather boring affair, and the Tuesday match had reserves. Why can't this be done here?

Is it too hard to schedule the USOC matches for the weekends? Before MLS even sits down and sets their schedule, they should be able to get the USOC schedule from the USSF and build the match days into the MLS schedule, so that USOC matches are not crammed inside of weeks where the clubs are resorting to sending nothing but reserves. Doing so would not only allow the MLS clubs to send their best sides, but they would still have the opportunity to get new guys into the matches, without having to use an entire B team.

One of the problems with the USOC is that really, nobody cares about it. It is a less than meaningful tournament that awards the winner a $100,000 cash prize. Well, the SuperLiga is going to award a $1,000,000 prize to the winner, so which tournament would you rather win if you were a club?

When I mean nobody cares about the USOC, I really mean that MLS doesn't care. The clubs really have no incentive to win the tournament until they reach the later stages. If the USSF actually gave their own tournament some other form of meaning, like maybe a higher cash purse or negotiated a spot in the InterLiga for the USOC champion, maybe the MLS clubs, the ones that the USSF needs to cater too, might care about the tournament.

Give the USOC some weight, something other than a trophy and a relatively small check. If the USSF does that, than the tournament could really be something and in turn, have some really good matches.

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