The Sounders have a lot of reasons to want to beat San Jose tomorrow, but the Heritage Cup -- awarded annually to the MLS team that retains it's historic NASL name that has the best record against other MLS teams that retain their historic NASL names -- doesn't seem to be near the top of coach Sigi Schmid's list.
For one thing, there are currently only two such MLS teams, which means the 2010 cup goes to the winner of the Seattle Sounders-San Jose Earthquakes series, starting tomorrow at Qwest Field.
For another, the competition seems to have gotten off to a bad start with Sounders coach Sigi Schmid, who wasn't happy with the way the inaugural cup was awarded to San Jose.
"Last year, I don’t know how the Heritage Cup got decided, because we played three games, we won two of them and somehow they won the Heritage Cup," Schmid said today.
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(That happened because the teams played three times last season: Twice in Seattle and once in San Jose. To balance that out, one Seattle game didn't count in the series, so the Cup was determined by aggregate score from one game in Seattle and the lone game in San Jose ... which turned out to be a decisive 4-0 Quakes rout. However, Schmid was on a role, so let's get back to him...)
"I thought if you win two out of three you would win the cup, but they eliminated one of the games," he continued. "So I figured we’d play these two games and then we decide which game we want to eliminate and then we decide who wins the cup. Sounds fair to me. It’s not a big thing that’s entered our mind at this stage to be honest."
(All of that said, I do think the Heritage Cup is a cool and fun idea ... one of those that makes soccer special. And I think it's a competition that will grow in prestige next season and beyond when the Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps join in, making it not only a competition of clubs with historic and honored names, but also of clustered geographic rivals. Here's a link to the Heritage Cup website.)