Friday, March 16, 2007

Copa vs Cup

It's not the story that Luis' piece promises to be, but I rounded up some interesting perspectives on Copa America, the Gold Cup, and the choice of one versus another.

Technically, though, Bob Bradley will likely still be at the helm for Gold Cup, so he will decide who plays there. After that tournament, he'll likely win the job outright, or cede to a new coach, for the Copa America. It's strange to have such a busy year planned for the team and to still be in limbo about who is the permanent pick.

Aside from that, I've already put together my reasons why I believe the Gold Cup is the more important tournament for the U.S. this year, but I'm curious as to what others think. Feel free to explain any thoughts in the comments.


Hops said...

I think people just like to think the Copa is better because of the opponents. Who would you rather watch USA vs. Argentina or USA vs. El Salvador? Also if you throw a young player who needs experience into either situation which one will truly test him? Now where Gold Cup gets interesting is once we get out of group stages, where Copa I think I'm just happy being there. We HAVE to win the Gold Cup.

A.C. said...

That of course is the problem - if we HAVE to win Gold Cup, how do we approach it at anything less than full-strength, especially considering Hugo Sanchez, Mexico's coach, says that's the tournament that really matters?

We might be happy to see Donovan in Copa America, but would the U.S. win the Gold Cup without him there?

Adrian said...

I enjoyed both articles. Different angles in each one.

Very interesting player perspectives indeed. Funny Chris Albright response - he's a complete suck up. I love it. :)

Gene said...

I think Copa America is a much more important tournament for the team, insofar as a measure of progress and a teaching opportunity. Yes, the key factors are the quality of the opposition and the intensity of playing in a major tournament in a hostile environment.

In my opinion, U.S. schedule sorely lacks in both (though Ecuador and Mexico games were a good idea). We need to stop patting ourselves on the back every time we beat a CONCAAF team (aside from Mexico or Costa Rica) and go out and play quality competition.

Also, guess which tournament is going to attract more viewers?

So, I would send your A-team to the Copa America and see where we really stand a couple of years away from qualifying for WC 2010. We won't learn much from the Gold Cup.

As for the Gold Cup, U.S. does not need to sent its best players there to play the likes of El Salvador, Cuba, etc. I think the Gold Cup should be used as a testing group for young MLS guns and some of the lesser known European-based players vying for a shot. Even such a team should be able to contend for the championship in that tournament.

Finally, I don't really care if Donovan goes to the Copa America. I would think that this is where he wants to go. But as far as I am concerned, his play over the course of last year has not put him on the A-list of people to send to Copa America.

L.B. said...

Great points, Gene. I agree with many of them.

Oh man, this Copa vs Cup debate is awesome! I myself continue to go back and forth. There are so many good points for both tournaments.

Gene said...

Andrea, I just read (skimmed over:) both articles. I guess I disagree with your perception of why the teams needs to treat Copa America as the more important tournament.

It has nothing to do with getting "respect" from other countries. We need to stop worrying about perception, FIFA rankings, or meaningless trophies. What we should be worrying about is the actual level of play. If that improves, other things will eventually follow.

What I personally would like to see (and I guess so do many of the fans) is improved play on the field against quality competition. I don't think that will happen until the team abandons the bunny slope and plays someone that matters.

Gene said...

L.B., to be honest with you, the only point in Andrea's article with which I somewhat agree would be Euro clubs' potential failure to release the players. However, I would still try and get them released. I would expect that at least some coaches would cooperate. And if they don't, then you deal with it.

So, to me, this seems like a no-brainer.

A.C. said...

Gene, the Euro coaches' cooperation could be a problem for the U.S. players. The point is, if a coach has no problem releasing a player for a non-mandatory competition just before the season starts, it might be because that player's club career is as good as dead. Clubs want the players that matter with them. They don't release them easily just before games kick off. Sometimes, if they're Jean Tigana, they don't even release players they're not using.

Gene said...

Andrea, honestly, I don't see a problem. You ask early for the players that you want. Hopefully, all or most of all, players that you want are available. To the extent some aren't released, then you deal with it by making adjustments / using MLS-based players, using some players in both competitions, etc.

Also, since Copa America is in the summer, one would hope that pretty much all European-based players are available.

A.C. said...

Copa America is during the preseason of many European teams. That's why they often don't release them even to the countries whose federation championship the event actually is. If you don't request Oguchi Onyewu for Gold Cup, and then Newcastle won't let him go for Copa America, haven't you just wasted your chance to help the team in Gold Cup - for nothing?

Gene said...

Andrea, I think we are arguing about mechanics. To be sure, I have no idea how the process of requesting a player release actually takes place.

However, I would assume that there is no impediment to asking for the players release for BOTH tournaments. You will probably get some yes and some no's. Once you have your answer, you deal with the consequences. Bradley might have to figure out how to apportion the squad, etc. He might have to do something. I am sure he can figure it out.

I am still unsure what this has to do with the debate of where to send your best squad.

Anyway, I understand your position. We can probably agree to disagree and we'll see how it all shakes out.