Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to today's edition of the Sideline Views running blog. We don't come to from an actual sideline but rather my cozy (and cluttered) office in my Riverside, Calif., home. Right now, I'm awaiting a conference call to preview Tuesday's U.S. Open Cup final between the New England Revolution and FC Dallas.
I'm going to use this for my Tuesday Press-Enterprise column and figured I'd do this to keep me somewhat busy. I work best when I'm busy, which is why I tend to write best when I've got multiple stories to file when a game ends.
The conference call was supposed to start at 10 a.m. PT but it's running a little behind, which is of absolutely no surprise to me. It was like 10:01 or so when I called in but I knew I wouldn't miss anything. So I'm snacking on carrots and a plum (the snack preferred by soccer writers, at least those based in Riverside County).
10:12 a.m. - Today's participants are Steve Nicol and Jay Heaps of New England and Steve Morrow and Carlos Ruiz of FC Dallas. Right now, though, there is just some Dixie-style jazz playing.
10:15 a.m. - Call started, right on time. Some notes to start off. The Burn won the title in 1997 but the Revolution haven't won a USOC yet. Hosts have won 8 of 11 finals since MLS teams started playing. Oops. The game is on Wednesday. Why did I think it was on Tuesday? Hmm...
10:16 a.m. - Morrow: It means a lot to the team, organization, Hunt family. Important game and championship to win. Nicol: Means everything to us. The oldest cup competition in America. Something with a lot of history behind it and something we want to win.
10:17 a.m. - Morrow: Cup final is one-off game. Anything can happen. We'll put our league form behind us.
10:19 - Nicol: Shalrie would be a loss to any team on the league. Not going to make radical changes. Only difference will be a change of personnel. Heaps: As a team, i've been in a couple of finals and i've been in overtime in all of them. We've played well, haven't won.
10:24 - Okay, I'm up. I have a question about atoning for previous years' shortcomings.
10:26 - Well, that went well, sorta. I asked if the final would be some sort of atonement for the last two seasons' shortcomings for both sides. Nicol said no, that they weren't really thinking about that and he'd be surprised if Morrow thought differently. Morrow said a simple no. Crap. I was like, uh, okay. The call moderator asked me if I had any further questions and I asked Morrow about finally hosting a cup final and what that would mean and he gave a decent answer, that it's meaningful to his side.
10: 28 - Morrow: Special occasion playing in a cup final. Mentality is important going into a one-off situation like that. Nicol: Team with strong mentality definitely has an edge over the other team. What's between your ears is huge in a cup competition.
10:31 - Okay, there are a lot of match-specific questions coming on (league form, the Revs' ability to win on the road, Steve Ralston's role) so I'm out. I got some good stuff.