Thursday, July 12, 2007

United's Early Exit -- D.C. United traveled up to Amish country and lost last night to a third division team, the Harrisburg City Islanders. I believe this is the team's earliest exit from the U.S. Open Cup. According the report in the Washington Post, Coach Tom Soehn played less than a handful of regulars, and the substitutes did not seize their opportunity. Most disappointing, apparently, was goalie Jay Nolly, who got tangled up with Bobby Boswell on a corner kick. With Jolly failing to get the ball, it was a simple task for the Harrisburg team to knock the ball into the empty net. That was enough to send United home, losing 1-0.

I am writing about the loss because it is an especially profound disappointment for Marylanders -- particularly Montgomery County residents. We look forward to United's annual journey up to the Germantown SportsPlex. United has made a tradition of hosting a U.S. Open Cup game at the Germantown stadium, to the delight of an annual sellout crowd of over four-thousand soccer fans. The game has been one of the highlights of the summer. Although there will be fewer greenhouse gases generated because we won't see the thousands of cars filing in and out of the suburban venue, my summer will be the poorer because United won't be playing in Germantown this year. Perhaps, in future years, the team will not take the opening rounds of the tournament so lightly.

Maybe, we'll get lucky, and one of the local lower-division teams will make a run in the Open Cup, and bring another MLS team to the site for a late summer tilt. The Richmond Kickers are alive and kicking, after all -- having upset the Los Angeles Galaxy. Actually, the way the Galaxy has played this year, that might not have been such an upset -- but it's a shame. Beckham might have brough some more attention to the tournament. Incredibly, the Houston Dynamo were also knocked out of the Open Cup this week. I guess D.C. United wasn't the only MLS team to underestimate their Open Cup opponents.

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