26 February 2007

Win where you can

D.C. United Head Coach Tom Soehn addressed the general meetings of the Screaming Eagles on Saturday. Aside from confirming that they're still looking to sign a player on the wing, that Olsen is out there to provide experience, and generally saying all the right comments, he made only one remark that drew some reprobation from the crowd. Discussing his planned use of younger and reserve players, which he indicated he wanted to use more of (and highlighting Moose, McTavish, and DeRoux), he said that the US Open Cup could be given primarily to the reserves.

Naturally, the trophy hungry audience gave this a decidedly mixed, if not negative, reaction. Personally, I feel like this is probably the correct course of action. You can't say "let's make greater use of the bench and keep the starters fresh" while at the same time maintaining that we need to win every match by playing our starters. Since we're currently in an international competition because of winning the Supporter's Shield, this means that given a choice between having starters fresh for the MLS regular season and pushing for the Shield, or winning the US Open Cup, I'd prefer the former. I know that fans of the Open Cup, and I am one, will say this devalues the Cup competition. It does. But with United involved in two other major competitions aside from the MLS regular season and the Open Cup, I don't think teams other than Houston are facing the same situation. Do I want the Dewar's Trophy? Sure I do. But on the list of potential accomplishments, it ranks just ahead of the reserve league title this year.

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6 Comments:

At 26 February, 2007 11:05, Blogger I-66 said...

For a team that clearly faded down the stretch last season, I support the rest of the regulars as a course of action to prevent the same this season. This isn't to say that I wouldn't support the starters being in for the USOC Final should they make it that far, but if we're playing a PDL side we don't need to be using Jaime and Christian for 90 minutes.

 
At 26 February, 2007 11:15, Blogger Kinney said...

I am a huge fan of the Open Cup and I want to see it become important one day. But the fact is that it is the currently the least important of the five trophies that DC United is competing for this season. I couldn't figure out a way in which they could afford not to play thier reserves. Hopefully this will give US Soccer a reason to step up and make the Open Cup more important.

 
At 26 February, 2007 12:47, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agree that the U.S.Open cup is a great place to give the reserves meaningful competitive action under pressure. Not that the reserve league doesn't offer some of that but the USOC would be a larger stage.

Also, just like the rules change to make the Supporter's shield meaningful was great, wouldn't it be cool if the winner of the reserve league earned something as well. (right to have the first game of the season at home?
-K

 
At 26 February, 2007 21:14, Anonymous Matt Y said...

use reserves until semifinals...then a mix....unless we are playing the red asses..

 
At 27 February, 2007 09:31, Blogger stonesean said...

Perhaps DC and Houston blowing off the USOC can actually help it in the long run. Focusing on the CCC and (god forbid) actually playing in the finals/winning the cup will boost the profile of ALL MLS teams and by proxy boost the profile of the United States domestic cup.

 
At 27 February, 2007 12:32, Anonymous matt w said...

I don't think Soehn has any choice. The third round of the Open Cup, where MLS teams first play, is July 10. United has a match at Houston on the 8th, just two days before, and then another one on the 14th here against Dallas.

The Open Cup qf's are on August 7, two days after United plays at the Revs and two days before the game here against Team Beckham. And it looks to me that we have two matches a week all through July and the first two weeks of August.

The Open Cup semis are on Sept. 4, three days after a game at Dallas and two days before a game at Chivas USA (and five days before a game here against the Revs).

Even the final on Oct. 2 comes three days after the final game of a three-games-in-seven days stretch.

MLS has done a poor job of leaving open dates for the Open Cup. Or, alternatively, there's just too much damned hardware for teams to be chasing. Soehn doesn't have any choice but to play the reserves in Open Cup matches. And likely be very flexible wrt league and SuperLiga matches as well.

 

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