Does Any One Care About the US Open Cup?

Ed Zurga

Fans don't seem to care. MLS doesn't seem to care. U.S. Soccer doesn't even seem to care. Is there anyone who cares about the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup?

Dominic Kinnear has stated in the past that the U.S. Open Cup doesn't matter to him and really why should it?

The winner gets some hardware for the trophy case but it doesn't get them a place in the Club World Cup or any where else. All it does is state that you are the best team in the United States.And really doesn't the MLS do that anyways?

The winner of the U.S. Open has historically been a MLS team. In 2008 Charleston Battery, a USL Pro team, made it to the final against D.C. United but lost the game 2-1. Since then only one non-MLS team has made it to the semi-finals when the Richmond Kickers made it in 2011. MLS doesn't even enter the competition until the third round by which time the really bad teams have already been weeded out. Anytime an MLS team is beaten by a non-MLS team it is considered a huge upset so no one expects anyone from outside of the MLS to win once they have entered the competition.

Early rounds of the tournament generally don't produce large attendance numbers. The fact that the games occur during the week factors in but by the end of the tournament the crowds quickly begin to grow in number. MLS teams typically trot out reserve league rosters unless they make it to the final rounds of the tournament when they then turn to their starters to bring home the hardware.

The fact that games are typically on weeknights are not something that U.S. Soccer can help entirely. They do have to try and work with the schedules of the leagues that compete in the tournament, namely the MLS. But scheduling games at the same times as a USMNT game is just stupid. Granted the USMNT match is a friendly but why would you risk losing even more fans in the stands by creating a scheduling conflict? It doesn't show much care for increasing attendance at the games.

Tickets, however, tend to be low in cost compared to a regular season MLS match. The Dynamo vs FC Tucson tickets are as low as $10 and the upper bowl of BBVA will be closed ensuring that even the cheap seats will be pretty good. Even at that some fans feel $10 is too high a price to pay to see the Dynamo second squad play against a PDL team, while others think it's a great inexpensive way to see the Dynamo play.

The Dynamo hold a 5-6-1 record in the tournament which may be further proof that Kinnear doesn't take it seriously. Last year Houston saw a first round exit at the hands of the San Antonio Scorpions. And this year it is anyone's guess as to what we will see. I would hope that our second squad can beat a PDL team but if you aren't taking the game seriously it can be hard to push enough to win against a team that is fighting to prove itself.

So I ask you... Do you care about the U.S. Cup?

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