Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Open date

The U.S. Open Cup might be out of sight for us (thanks Richmond and Seattle) but it's not out of mind. It's actually out of sight for all but three MLS clubs.

I wrote a piece on the Open Cup for my PE column today. With all the Beckham hype and the SuperLiga, it's easy to put the Open Cup in the background so I wanted to remind some people that the Open Cup is still going on.

For the story, I went back to see how many non-MLS teams have reached the USOC semifinals and found out that only six have in fact reached the semis. This year a seventh team will join the list as Carolina and Richmond will play in a quarterfinal match but we could have an even greater number. New England hosts Harrisburg City but Colorado will visit Seattle and FC Dallas will travel to Charleston, and I'll venture a guess and say at least one of those USL sides will pull off the upset.

Now, I don't know if it was purely coincidental or not but all four of MLS' SuperLiga sides played third-round matches and only FC Dallas won. However, only FC Dallas did not reach the SuperLiga semifinals as the Galaxy (who lost to Richmond in the USOC), DC United (ousted by Harrisburg City) and Houston (bounced by Charleston) are still alive in the SuperLiga. Maybe they intentionally tanked those matches. Maybe they didn't, but Galaxy coach Frank Yallop has all but come out and said he's relieved the Galaxy doesn't have the Open Cup as a distraction this year.

That's fine, though. The Open Cup should be left to those teams who take the tournament seriously. At this point in the tournament, it seems the remaining clubs will surely take their quarterfinal matches as such.

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