The Lamar Hunt US Open Cup is one of the most underrated events in American soccer every year. The early rounds feature teams like The Villages SC playing on a polo field, teams streaming the games on Facebook video from the bench, to incredible local announcers who might be related to the players or coaches. The early round upsets demonstrate the sheer depth and breadth of talent across this country, in some places that you might not know. The magic of a knockout tournament and the drama that it can bring should be capitalized on better by many in the US Soccer sphere.
While US Soccer is slowly catching up to the value of the event, they are not the only ones to blame for this. MLS’ Matt Doyle mentioned yesterday on Sirius XM FC’s Counter Attack show that the numbers for their articles on the Open Cup do not reach anywhere near the same levels as their general articles. This reminded me of an earlier discussion in the show about team’s understanding their brands and how to market themselves in their own communities.
Jimmy Conrad and Brian Dunseth hosted the show yesterday, two former players who also understand branding and engaging the public. In a discussion about Conrad’s pick up game series that has been very successful this summer, they discussed that some teams across the country just do not understand their own brand and how to interact with the public.
The Open Cup is a prime example of this. The teams that draw well for Open Cup games treat them with importance, the ones that draw poorly ignore the tournament for the most part. If that team makes a run in the tournament, it is too late to whip up a frenzy for a big crowd in the later stages. Orlando is a prime example last night. A disappointing crowd turned up for their match with Ft. Lauderdale and the team chose not to live stream the game on YouTube like everyone else. If the club makes it clear that the tournament is not a high priority, the fans will respond accordingly.
The tournament is a massive event and to only blame US Soccer for its marketing of the tournament is unfair. The teams involved have to do a better job across the board as well. Otherwise, this sleeping giant of an event will remain sporadically attended and discussed.
PC’s goal for Ft. Lauderdale in the 120th minute knocks Orlando City out of the US Open Cup (The Mane Land)
A late Teal Bunbury goal brings the Revolution back to defeat the New York Cosmos 3-2. (Bent Musket)
WATCH: @TealBunb's second of the night pushes @NERevolution past @NYCosmos 3-2 tonight. #USOC2016 #NERevshttps://t.co/a0KKLFiAym— U.S. Open Cup (@opencup) June 30, 2016
Houston wins 3-1 at home over Sporting Kansas City to advance to the quarterfinals. (Dynamo Theory)
Sliding into the lead like…https://t.co/yWCHaFmoyC#HOUvSKC #USOC2016 pic.twitter.com/6AmYTaQXEO— Houston Dynamo (@HoustonDynamo) June 29, 2016
Chris Pontius’ two goal effort leads the Union to a 2-1 win over the Red Bulls. (Brotherly Game)
...and @ChrisPontius puts @PhilaUnion ahead of @NewYorkRedBulls on the hour mark. #USOC2016 #DOOPhttps://t.co/oXH8smFKwc— U.S. Open Cup (@opencup) June 30, 2016
An extra time winner pushes Dallas through to the quarterfinals over Colorado (Big D Soccer)
Castillo takes out two defenders and even rounds the lineswoman the catch up the ball. pic.twitter.com/GKKnnrCNCo— Total MLS (@TotalMLS) June 30, 2016
LA advances to the quarterfinals after defeating the Portland Timbers 1-0 (LAG Confidential)
Chicago parts ways with DP striker Gilberto after a disappointing start to the season (Hot Time in Old Town)
Bournemouth’s manager feels Emerson Hyndman has a “bright future” ahead at the club (Stars and Stripes FC)
Will Johnson’s last gasp volley wins the Voyageurs Cup for Toronto FC (Waking the Red)
Chivas de Guadalajara rejected the renewal of their TV contract, so they are offering their games as PPV online, with bigger games costing more money (Record)
A look back at Chile’s recent triumphs (SB Nation)
Could Arsene Wenger or Jurgen Klinsmann be the new manager of the English national team? (SB Nation)
This is gearing up to be a tumultuous offseason for the Atlanta Hawks, it starts with negotiating with Al Horford (Peachtree Hoops)
Get caught up with the news around the diamond in Braves Country (Talking Chop)
If it was to happen, who would be the top candidates to leave the SEC? (Dawg Sports)