Gary Smith Slams Open Cup

Gary Smith Slams Open Cup

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On May 28, 2009
  • 10 Comments
  • 2009 US Open Cup, Gary Smith, Lamar Hunt US Open Cup
Gary Smith would like some changes made to the Open Cup. (Getty Images)

Gary Smith would like some changes made to the Open Cup. (Getty Images)

Colorado Rapids manager Gary Smith does not like the US Open Cup. At all.

The Colorado Rapids head coach lashed out on the sad state of the U.S. Open Cup after his side’s 1-0 loss to the Seattle Sounders on Tuesday. His hits on the USOC included the venue of last nights game down to the importance of the Cup itself.

“(The way) the whole system has been conducted has led us down a path that it was obvious the MLS league games are far more important to everybody in our league,” Smith said. “Why should we risk our best players when nobody actually sees this as an important competition?

“I come from an environment and culture where Cup games are part of the fabric as English football and European football. I think people at the top have demeaned this competition by playing it here for starters. Why don’t we play the games at Qwest? Why, when we offered up the facilities at our own turf, are we not there?

“I understand there was a coin flip that nobody saw, and strangely enough Seattle won the toss. The difference tonight is they are at home and maybe they are slightly more adept to playing on a plastic surface. They go through to the next round and good luck to them.”

Smith was also a bit unhappy about the draw to play in Seattle and how it was done. Most may not know it but it was done by the flip of a coin. Yes, somehow a coin flip decided who hosted this match.

“Why can’t we promote the Cup in a more sensible fashion so everyone can get behind it?” he said. “There is a behind close door draw done and we end up here in a facility that is below par. We have seen two very good teams do battle on a below-par surface and facility.

“I don’t understand that with the strides the MLS and the league made in this country. Seattle has proved this week already what a good team they are. It doesn’t suit them either and I’m surprised.”

To be real honest Smith brings up a lot of valid points here. I’m behind the notion that the Open Cup should take on more importance for all clubs. The way it is set up is still a bit of a joke in some ways. I know there are certainly plenty of ways to improve the Cup but that is another post for another day.

  • Bonji

    Gary is saying what many fans think. MLS treats the tournament as an unimportant event and US Soccer gives them a reason to. It should be run like the FA Cup. MLS teams should not have to qualify to get into the third round. Whatever the issues are preventing the two sides cooperating to make this a bigger event should be overcome.

  • WTF

    The greatest failure of MLS and USSF is marketing. These people are totally clueless. Given FSC and Gol air re-runs 80% of their schedule, there is no excuse not to televise a draw and multiple games each round. Even if USSF has to buy the time (FSC and Gol have such poor ratings it would not be very expensive).

  • TCompton

    I think that Gary's intention is good here, but after a loss, it comes off a lot like whining. It would be great if the US Open Cup had a more prominent and significant role in US Soccer in general. <br />
    <br />
    First, one of the biggest challenges that I see with the USOC is that unlike, England, the US does not have an organization of professional soccer that allows for the cost of implementing an FA Cup styled (and appreciated) tournament to exist. Additionally, the geographic size of the United States makes this cost much greater than that of England. The lack of this infrastructure also leads to a lack of suitable fields to host these matches. I'm not sure of the funds that the US Soccer Federation has available, but I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that it's budget pales in comparison to that of England's (or Great Britain's or United Kingdom's) Football Association. I just don't think that it would be a wise use of funding to spend considerable amount of funds on the USOC when what the US desperately needs is to find a way to develop the plethora talented young Americans. <br />
    <br />
    Second, from an MLS perspective, MLS Clubs are asked to put together rosters within a series of restrictions (e.g., salary cap, roster size, international athletes, limited sources of available talent, etc.). What this means is that some clubs cannot afford to field competitive line-ups due to injuries, fatigue, or fixture congestion. As a result, the clubs chose to start players who may not have seen significant game minutes. This obviously makes it appear that MLS clubs do not view the USOC as significant or important. While I do not normally think this is the case, it is what it is.<br />
    <br />
    Finally, although USSF has awarded the fourth Champions League slot to the USOC in an attempt to give it more significance, the financial benefit of advancing and winning does not necessarily exceed the cost of participation to the point that it becomes worthwhile to take it that seriously. I'm not sure of the payout for winning, advancing to the final, semi-finals, quarter-finals, etc., but I do remember that coach of an amateur club had to take pay for his team's trip to Los Angeles to face Chivas USA out of his own pockets. It just seems like there is something wrong about that. <br />
    <br />
    Regardless, Gary has some valid points in his argument, but the fix is not simply a flip of the switch. Competitive soccer in the US should not be compared to that of England, Italy, or Spain. Attempts to do so result in wild comparisons that overlook (or discount completely) the unique differences of the game played in the US vs. Europe.

  • Gary is saying what many fans think. MLS treats the tournament as an unimportant event and US Soccer gives them a reason to. It should be run like the FA Cup. MLS teams should not have to qualify to get into the third round. Whatever the issues are preventing the two sides cooperating to make this a bigger event should be overcome.

  • WTF

    The greatest failure of MLS and USSF is marketing. These people are totally clueless. Given FSC and Gol air re-runs 80% of their schedule, there is no excuse not to televise a draw and multiple games each round. Even if USSF has to buy the time (FSC and Gol have such poor ratings it would not be very expensive).

  • SDM

    There's always another alternative…..don't play in it. It's not like you are required to play in it. Perhaps if enough MLS teams say &quot;thanks, but no thanks&quot;, the USSF will actually a.) Market the games so people will take notice, and b.) actually make it worth it money wise for teams to want to try and win it. Are you telling me with all the bucks US Soccer brings in, $200k is all they can afford to give the winner? Give me a break.

  • TCompton

    I think that Gary’s intention is good here, but after a loss, it comes off a lot like whining. It would be great if the US Open Cup had a more prominent and significant role in US Soccer in general.

    First, one of the biggest challenges that I see with the USOC is that unlike, England, the US does not have an organization of professional soccer that allows for the cost of implementing an FA Cup styled (and appreciated) tournament to exist. Additionally, the geographic size of the United States makes this cost much greater than that of England. The lack of this infrastructure also leads to a lack of suitable fields to host these matches. I’m not sure of the funds that the US Soccer Federation has available, but I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that it’s budget pales in comparison to that of England’s (or Great Britain’s or United Kingdom’s) Football Association. I just don’t think that it would be a wise use of funding to spend considerable amount of funds on the USOC when what the US desperately needs is to find a way to develop the plethora talented young Americans.

    Second, from an MLS perspective, MLS Clubs are asked to put together rosters within a series of restrictions (e.g., salary cap, roster size, international athletes, limited sources of available talent, etc.). What this means is that some clubs cannot afford to field competitive line-ups due to injuries, fatigue, or fixture congestion. As a result, the clubs chose to start players who may not have seen significant game minutes. This obviously makes it appear that MLS clubs do not view the USOC as significant or important. While I do not normally think this is the case, it is what it is.

    Finally, although USSF has awarded the fourth Champions League slot to the USOC in an attempt to give it more significance, the financial benefit of advancing and winning does not necessarily exceed the cost of participation to the point that it becomes worthwhile to take it that seriously. I’m not sure of the payout for winning, advancing to the final, semi-finals, quarter-finals, etc., but I do remember that coach of an amateur club had to take pay for his team’s trip to Los Angeles to face Chivas USA out of his own pockets. It just seems like there is something wrong about that.

    Regardless, Gary has some valid points in his argument, but the fix is not simply a flip of the switch. Competitive soccer in the US should not be compared to that of England, Italy, or Spain. Attempts to do so result in wild comparisons that overlook (or discount completely) the unique differences of the game played in the US vs. Europe.

  • SDM

    There’s always another alternative…..don’t play in it. It’s not like you are required to play in it. Perhaps if enough MLS teams say “thanks, but no thanks”, the USSF will actually a.) Market the games so people will take notice, and b.) actually make it worth it money wise for teams to want to try and win it. Are you telling me with all the bucks US Soccer brings in, $200k is all they can afford to give the winner? Give me a break.

  • seba

    if the portscum Portland Timbers make it to the third round to play the Sounders, (which I highly doubt, see Hollywood United last year) then that will be an Open Cup game worth watching…otherwise for Seattle the tourney is just a way of getting into the CCL quicker.

  • seba

    if the portscum Portland Timbers make it to the third round to play the Sounders, (which I highly doubt, see Hollywood United last year) then that will be an Open Cup game worth watching…otherwise for Seattle the tourney is just a way of getting into the CCL quicker.