The Galaxy face Columbus in an Open Cup qualifier today, and it brings up the debate of the tournament's significance. There is strong sentiment among many that the Open Cup means something and is an important part of this country's soccer past, present and future. Others don't really see it as more than glorified friendlies. Still others - mostly those who don't really follow the sport - get confused with the Open Cup and how the Galaxy can play another MLS team and not have it count in the standings.
As far as the significance goes, I do think the tournament carries weight and should be taken more seriously by MLS in that there should be specific weekends set aside for Open Cup. But that typically brings about another debate on how there are only a handful of weekends available and space is limited and all that other gobbledygook.
Usually when I've talked to players and coaches about it, they seem sort of tempered in their remarks. Frank Yallop, though, told me yesterday that last year's Open Cup run probably cost them the MLS playoffs.
“It stopped us from maybe making the playoffs,” he said. “We had some good results obviously in the Open Cup against MLS teams… If it was the other way in league games, I felt we would have gotten enough points to make the playoffs.”
(Unfortunately, the link to this story - it ran in the Press-Enterprise - is not up yet but this is what he said. It's not me in what should be obvious sarcasm; it's Frank being frank.)