26 September 2007

Special Game C [hivas of Guadalajara]

The news in the major papers is tonight's match against Chivas of Guadalajara in the Copa Sudamericana. The buzz is emphasizing the fact that there is that United is carrying something of a grudge against the Real Goats. From Haydon in the Times:

"That loss against them left a bad taste in my mouth, and this is an opportunity for payback," Namoff said. "It gives us another chance to get another stab at Chivas."

And from The Bog Man in the Post:

"To me, it's more about Chivas versus D.C. United," Olsen said, "and it's a credit to this club that we can have a rivalry with one of the most storied clubs in Mexico."

Fred seems to be the one making the case for prestige of the tournament:

"We have to think big with our team's mentality in this tournament," said Fred. "It's very respected, it's very important. It's watched throughout the continent. I think we have a mentality that we can do well and hopefully advance to the next round."

QuarterVolley notes the voices from the Mexican side may sound a bit overconfident, but I also recall that we didn't open that series particularly impressively.

Now, while I'm thrilled that United's players really want this game (see the most recent Access United and Behind the Badge), and I'll definitely be there tonight, I just don't feel the same passion for this tournament that I felt two years ago. Perhaps two years ago it was the newness of the experience (Hey! We're playing in South America! Cool!) Perhaps part of it was just how depressing that ending was. But I think the major motivating factor is that of the three trophies in play for United, this ranks third right now. The Cup and the Shield are both much more desirable right now, and if either quest should suffer because of this match due to injuries or the like, I will not be pleased. I don't want the results of this match to interfere with the season or playoffs. I'd almost want a reserve heavy team to play in order to put out a full strength, rested line-up against Toronto. If the table was different, I'd feel differently, but right now this is not my main concern. The Real Goats may be a budding rivalry of a sort, but even that doesn't motivate me. Revenge, as Hamlet learned, isn't always a noble cause.

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At 26 September, 2007 10:37, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I'd almost want a reserve heavy team to play in order to put out a full strength, rested line-up against Toronto."

I know we have (had?) a habit of folding to weaker teams, but isn't this a bit paranoid?

If we can't take Toronto, I wouldn't blame Chivas for wearing out our starters. We should be able to beat Toronto a day after running a marathon. If we lose that game, there are other issues...

Meanwhile, if we go full strength against Chivas and win, that puts a wind in our sails and arguably improves our game in MLS.

The boys want it -- let them have it! Vamos United!

At 26 September, 2007 11:04, Blogger The Bird said...

I'm not going to be able to make RFK tonight, and I'm having trouble finding info on if/where the game is going to be broadcast. I know it's on FSC on delay, and FSE live, but alas, I get neither. Will there be a video feed on the DCU website? Audio? Will Limarzi be broadcasting on 1160 AM?

That said, I agree with anonymous. It's only Wednesday, and we should be able to dominate Toronto on 3 days rest. Playing and winning in international tournys is what the best clubs do, and DCU should aspire to that level. It makes the team better by earning international respect, attracts new talent, draws sponsorship dollars, and elevates our overall level of play.

At 26 September, 2007 11:05, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think a big part of why many United fans rate this at the bottom of the trophies we're still in it for is because it's viewed as one we're not likely to win.

Now, given a choice between winning Copa Sudamericana, winning the Shield and winning MLS Cup, I'd have to say winning Copa Sudamericana is most valuable.

At 26 September, 2007 11:09, Blogger I-66 said...

Leave it to a Brazilian to make a case for the importance of the tournament of his home country's confederation.

I'd expect Fred, Emilio, Gomez, and Moreno to want it a little more, but even they must see that it is not too involved in the big picture for the club.

At 26 September, 2007 11:29, Blogger Justin W said...

Why trust Hamlet -- look where he ended up.

We have to do well in this series. Afterwards, that's gravy. But we have to enter the tournament door with panache, with ferocity, and with a net win. Make the right entrance on this international stage, get noticed as a player, and then do what you will with the rest.

At 26 September, 2007 14:19, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd have to disagree with you D. the benefit of winning the shield is exactly what we are getting tonight--a shot to play in a big-time international tournament and make a statement. Of the three: sudamericana, shield, and mls cup, there is no doubt that the most desirable trophy is the sudamericana. We win MLS cup and its great for domestic bragging rights, but noone outside our MLS circle cares. The SS is a more meaningful accomplishment because it is so much harder to accomplish, and gets the same benefits as MLS cup, except that, once again, noone outside our MLS circle cares. Sudamericana, on the other hand, is a tournament that is very popular, particularly in Argentina, because of Fox Sports' dominance of Latin American soccer airwaves. The event became prestigious when Boca and Pumas played an epic final in 2005, and then Pachuca made an incredible run in 2006, cementing sudamericana's popularity in the two big markets outside of Brazil. I know it is still not considered important in Brazil, but it will catch on there eventually as well.
If we win this, or even make it to the semifinals, it will be way more impressive, garner much more attention, credibility, and respect than the other two could dream of. Simply put, Sudamericana is a much, much bigger stage to showcase what DCU is all about, and should be the priority for us if we want to become a dominant team and be considered as such by others in the Americas. There are also excellent marketing, advertising, revenue-generating opportunities for promoting our brand internationally as well, and that shouldn't be overlooked...

At 26 September, 2007 14:27, Blogger D said...

Nick (and like-minded): I would normally agree with you, and if United were second or third in the table and the Supporter's Shield was an outside shot, I'd say give roll out everyone and shoot for each match. It's just in this case, we have a really, really good shot at the Shield, and I'd hate to throw it away from a tournament we're unlikely to win, even if we get by this match.

I'm probably in the wrong here.


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