Thursday, September 04, 2008

NESHOF News and The U.S. Open Cup

I have breaking news for you. No, I do not know what happened to the Cheesy Gordita Crunch. I am still working my sources on that one.

Anyway, I figured I'd pass along this update after attending last night's New England Soccer Hall of Fame meeting.

The induction ceremony is slated for November 1st at the Riviera Inn in East Providence. Among the nominees are Derek Rae (ESPN soccer broadcaster) and Jeff Causey (New England Revolution 1997-2001). A press release will be issued very soon. I'm sure it will be an exciting evening for all involved.

Now, Causey, from what I've seen, was pretty solid keeper who had to man the net with some pretty suspect defending in front of him during a time when the Revolution were, on the whole, a pretty mediocre/sub-average bunch. But, I, for one, cannot wait to meet Derek Rae. He is my all-time favorite soccer TV announcer. He delivers the game with remarkable degree of professionalism, insight and energy without a hint of pompousness, which is no easy task. He sticks to the game in front of him, and is never prone to carry on with unrelated subjects or topics. In my humble opinion, he is the epitome of his profession.


Did you pregame the Republican National Convention (or The Office) with a view of the U.S. Open Cup Final on FSC last night? I did. It was a great game, and through the miracle of the internets, I was lucky enough to chat with Josh Hakala, the founder of, throughout the match.

Of course, an upset would have been desirable. The USL-1 Charleston Battery put up quite a fight against the formidable MLS side, DC United. It was 1-1 until the 51st minute when Fred swept a magnificent shot that ultimately sealed the deal for DC. It was a dogfight of a match - there was no question Charleston belonged there, which is why the tournament is so great. Normally, these clubs would never play each other, save for a pre-season exhibition, perhaps. But on a late-summer Wednesday night in the heart of our nation's capitol, there was something on the line that brought these two different clubs together. It was the U.S. Open Cup, a trophy that's been awarded to the best soccer club in America since the Wilson administration.

Before MLS, this was THE trophy (and I can make an argument that it still is, but I digress...for now) that determined the best of the best in the U.S. No flashy silver balls, no halftime concerts, no elaborate pre-game festivities*. Just two battle-tested clubs playing for the same handsome silver trophy that's been awarded to the victor for the past 94 years.

(*I'm not against these things, mind you. It caters to the TV audience, which is a good thing because that's where the money comes in. So long as soccer remains on the tube, I can stomach some of the nonsensical, non-soccer potpurri at MLS Cup. However, there's something to be said about a championship game that is simply just about twenty-two guys on the pitch, a conglomeration of fans, and a blind referee rather than a multi-media onslaught on the senses.)

If you like underdogs and upsets, you have to love the U.S. Open Cup. It's really soccer's version of the NCAA's, except with a richer tradition...and far fewer TV timeouts.

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