- MLS diehards have this romantic view of Open Cup/CCL, treating it like the FA Cup/UEFA Champions League with all this history and prestige. The masses don't care about it at all though and the titles themselves mean little to them. The formats are similar, but unlike in Europe, the domestic league title (MLS Cup) is the most sought after.
The irony is that of all the domestic cup competitions in the world, only the FA Cup is older than the USOC.
I get that US Soccer wants to maximize income, but they are doing it the wrong way. This competition could be really popular especially with the growth of USLC and even the incoming NAPSL pro. But the format that gives more MLS teams hosting right, necessitates MLS v MLS matches, and weeds out way too many lower teams too early kills any potential growth in enthusiasm. I wish they would understand that a round 3 with 20+ MLS teams at lower divisions sides is going to be very well attended, where as the gates for 11 USLC v 11 USLC teams midweek won't do well.
Think whatever you want about NASL, but a lot of the NASL v MLS matches in past years were a lot of fun. I loved beating the Cosmos. Even went to see Reading United at RBA one year and it wasn't horribly attended. Even the roadtrip in 2012 to Harrisburg was memorable even if the result sucked. You'd give shit to the players and they would give you shit (honestly really profane shit) right back to you. That was fun. Even the Cincy semi-final was a lot of fun to watch. Hosting NE in the opening game on a weekday sucks.
So yeah I want my old school 'romanticized' version of the cup back!
With 23 MLS clubs next season, I could see a round of 64 with each team facing lower-tier opposition, preferably away. However, MLS may not want an additional round of non-league matches, even if played at home.
The top 9 non-Canadian USL clubs would not face MLS opponents in this round.
Rd of 64 seems like the best solution. It adds one extra game for MLS teams which doesn't seem like a huge deal. Eligible USLC teams (28) and MLS teams (23) enter this round. That leaves 13 spots for D3 and below. There were 38 teams that entered in this category this years. Seems within the realm of possibility that they could whittle that number down to 13 within two rounds.
It would mean some USLC v USLC matches in that round (which already happens), and that some MLS teams would be guaranteed to play 2 lower division opponents. However, neither of those things bother me. I'd rather see more matches hosted by small markets excited to see an MLS team than another MLS v MLS game at Harvard attended by 500 people. I'm also totally on board with lower-division teams getting right of first refusal to host up to round 4 or so, but I feel that's probably less likely to happen.
Anyway, I have little faith in US soccer to get it right.
i'd like more lower div teams to be more involved, but i don't mind the regional groupings. lower div teams get the shaft when it comes to x-country traveling duee to USOC.
I really hope the format is altered next year. 11 lower division teams is too few, especially with two more MLS teams next year.
The benefit of the regional grouping as they currently stand is that it provides every MLS team a chance to play a lower division sides even in geographic regions that are not well represented in the 4th round. Doesn't necessarily help out too much with travel--sure Hartford won't be going to California, but Nashville might end up travelling to Boston depending on how things shake out. Considering their are only 11 non-MLS teams left and 10 of them are pro sides I'm not too concerned about travel (this year).
3rd round games played tonight and tomorrow. Round 4 draw will be on Thursday. Teams will be divided into 8 regional groups of 4 teams each. Each group will have a minimum of 1 and a maximum of 2 lower division teams. Lower division teams must be drawn against an MLS team this round. So we will have either a 33% or a 100% chance of playing a lower division team.
Teams will be redivided into regional groups for the 5th round draw after which the tournament will have a fixed bracket going forward.
The Zizzo trade has to rank among the best in RBNY/metro history. Boy city gave us Zizzo in exchange for Ryan Meara on loan for 1 year. (They really fucked up during that inaugural season between that and passing on Mike Grella).