For just $8.99, this can be yours at one of my favorite Web sites. However, with a quick trip to College Station on Wednesday night, you get to see your Houston Dynamo potentially stomp down this kind of KFC Spork:
Usually, when it comes to rebranding in MLS, I tend to be like Claude Rains in Casablanca, meaning I will take what comes. (What Bogie called: "A true democrat.") However, with this particular rebranding, I had to wonder what exactly that team was going for. They are either aping a not-very-successful team in Portugal or a not very successful team in Spain. Why, in a year with so many Iberian success stories, would an MLS team focus on the leavings? Oh well, I suppose it beats "Deportivo KC."
And all of this leads me to College Station, Texas, potentially the home of the NCAA women's basketball champion and site of Dynamo's US Open Cup match against the Kansas City not-the-Wizards (nevermind that title they won and first rainbow jerseys, both efforts of which I am more than willing to accommodate) Wednesday night. Dominic Kinnear, to my knowledge has never once fielded a full-strength side in a US Open Cup match, no matter the stage. And I have no reason to suspect he will Wednesday night. The focus of this team is, quite rightly, on the MLS campaign, and if a major starter gets hurt playing in front of a bunch of Aggies on a Wednesday night in April, happiness and satisfaction will not be prevalent across the land. To that end, I expect to see this XI:
With a bench of Evan Newton, Danny Cruz, Bobby Boswell, Hunter Freeman, Cam Weaver and Josue Soto (and maybe Colin Clark or Francisco Navas Cobo if healthy)
In effect, I think of this game as the first true reserve team match, a preview of sorts for the actual Reserve League match against the Spork reserves (the Plastic Sporks?) on Monday. I only wish we had more guys back from injury and working to regain fitness because this would be a wonderful setting for Colin Clark and Calen Carr to show what passes for their stuff.
I know that the age-old (or at least MLS-age old) argument is that US Open Cup should be more emphasized, that it's the US equivalent of the FA Cup, blah, blah, blah. To a certain extent I agree. As a fan, a trophy is a trophy is a trophy. And this tournament does have a nice and entertaining pedigree. But let's not kid ourselves here. As Dom has repeated again and again and again (and as Zygo pointed out on the A Podcast Orange this week), with him, it's all about the MLS Cup. It's the end-all, be-all, period at the end of every sentence (to paraphrase John Thompson). For those of you out there arguing that the US Open Cup deserves lofty status, just remember that the problem with that approach is that you are saying that the Seattle Sounders have two major titles. Is that somewhere you really want to go?
Let's take a look at what two major titles really looks like: