- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On October 5, 2011
- 0 Comments
- 2011 US Open Cup, Features
First off, congratulations to the Seattle Sounders FC on their third straight US Open Cup title. Its a feat that has to be commended since three-peats in sports happen so rarely anymore.
That said, other teams have to start taking note of this competition. I think the 2011 edition of the USOC was better than previous ones since a few more clubs got a little more into it than in the past. It seems over the last few years that Seattle, DC, and Chicago really take it serious with a few others mixed in depending on if they had to qualify through the ridiculous process that MLS teams have to go through in this tournament.
Like this year you had Sporting Kansas City, Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas get a little more into this competition.
For teams like this, the USOC is in some ways the easiest way to qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League. As long as that incentive is still hanging around to the victors of this tournament, you’ll see some teams like Seattle and Salt Lake push a little harder.
But back to the main point, teams have to get serious in 2012 in this tournament. Sure the bidding process takes a little bit of the fun out of it for some and we all know Seattle, DC and probably now Kansas City will do whatever they can to make sure they have some home cookin’ in the later rounds. But teams have to begin to throw out the idea that this competition is below them.
For ages it has been that teams having to deal with this tournament, the regular season and other competitions like SuperLiga and the CCL is too much. The travel, roster issues, injuries (dude everyone has those), and salary cap restrictions. All excuses made at some point by MLS clubs in the USOC.
Seattle is proving today that you can be competitive in all competitions and not exhaust your roster to the fullest. They’re in the playoffs, off to the knockout stage of the CCL and are still within a beat of the Supporters’ Shield. They threw out the age old excuses that travel and roster complications go into this tournament and handled it with class.
As rosters continue to expand and the salary cap continues to grow, MLS teams have no more excuses for putting in a solid effort in this competition. I love an underdog as much as the next guy but we should never see a Richmond Kickers make it through to the semifinal round.
I’m not saying this would be the case everywhere but teams that have to qualify into the main bracket next year should take it more serious. I know not everyone is a Seattle right now or even on their level in MLS (other than LA and maybe RSL) but the ability to not have the mindset that this competition is an annoyance and a hassle to your roster has be there. Not only do you have the CCL berth on the line but winning a trophy like this is always a boost to your club and the fans. Believe me, fans love trophies. You can’t tell me this morning that Red Bull fans wouldn’t take a USOC trophy today over winning last night’s LA game.
I still believe the USOC has a ways to go before it is truly great. I’ve gotten into those points before and honestly, I don’t feel like reprinting them here. Possibly the biggest thing that can make the USOC really great is if all MLS teams have a shot at making it that way. Throwing out the qualifying process for MLS teams and letting them all be apart of the
stupid bidding process will make it better.
At the end of the day though, the excuses front coaches, club front office members and even players has to stop. Hopefully fans around the country begin to take note of how Seattle has done it over these last three years. Their owners may have more money to spend on hosting games but at least they are doing it for their fans.