Sounders Insider

Schmid talks open draws, derby finals and U.S. Open Cup daring to be brilliant

Interesting. Two MLS teams have to play each other in that round. The only thing that’s sad for me – I’ll probably get in trouble with U.S. Soccer again – but the only things that’s sad for me is one of the great things about the FA Cup and some of the cups even in other countries is you can end up with a derby as the final game. You can have a Man City play Man United as a final game, you can have an Arsenal play against Tottenham as a final game. You can have Liverpool plan against Man United as a final game. Because of the regionalization of the draw in U.S. Soccer, you will never have a Portland-Seattle final. You will never have a New York City-Red Bull final. You will never have a Dallas-Houston final. And I think that’s a little sad. It’s disappointing. I think it takes away from the tournament. I think it takes away from the quality of the tournament. Just imagine if you had a Seattle-Portland final in front of 60,000. Or just imagine if you had a Dallas-Houston final or you had New York City-Red Bull final. I think that would really draw a lot of attention to the competition. Hopefully at some point they can get away from the regionalization so that can happen. I think Cascadia fans get shorted because that possibility right now under the present system does not exist. And with there being more teams out of the amateur divisions out of the East Coast, it’s always going to be that we’re going to end up playing Portland in either the round of 32 or the round of 16 if we’re both there. That’s going to be unavoidable.

I would like to see a random draw at the end of each round. I would like to see a round completed and then there’s a random draw, irrespective of where you’re from: just a random draw. It could end of meaning MLS against MLS. I remember being in England once (while scouting) and I remember being in a little place called Worcester … and they had beaten Bournemouth in a cup game, which is a little bit of an upset. And then the draw comes out that night and they find out that they’re playing Chelsea. I mean the euphoria was fantastic. They were looking forward to that. Or just recently this year with Cambridge United … and they end up playing against Man United. But that doesn’t really happen (in Open Cup). You know if you’re PSA or Ventura Fusion, well you probably have a chance of playing LA, but you’re never going to really play in New York City – that’s not going to ever happen for you, or New York City is never going to come to your place. I’d like to see us take the even to another level. I know some coaches will disagree with me – even MLS coaches will disagree. But I’d like to see us take the event to another level and have a draw after each round.

For sure from a coaching standpoint … like the one year they made us play in Tampa, yeah, that’s not ideal. That’s difficult. But it’s a draw. It’s the luck of the draw. … Right now, OK it’s going to be regional so you sort of have an idea who you’re going to play, and I think it limits the potential opportunity. I used to have an assistant coach, he used to say, ‘You’ve got to dare to be brilliant. You can’t do something brilliant unless you dare to be brilliant.’ Well you’re not going to have a U.S. Open Cup that’s really meaningful unless you dare to make it meaningful. . And right now, by keeping on a regional basis, yeah, it satisfies some people who don’t want to travel a lot, we don’t have to spend a lot of money because they don’t give a lot of money for travel; it’s an additional cost. I know clubs don’t want to do that. So there’s a lot of reasons for CEOs who are going to say to me, ‘Hey that’s stupid Sigi,’ and for coaches to say, ‘That’s stupid, Sigi.’ At the end of the day, I think over a four-five year period of doing that, I think the Cup will become more meaningful, will become a higher level of competition, you’ll get more people out to watch it, and you’ll have more interest. But you’ve got to take that chance. I might be wrong. It might not work. But it ain’t working the way it’s going now. And it doesn’t draw enough interest the way it’s going now, so certainly changing it wouldn’t make it any worse. Maybe I’m wrong. I could be wrong. I’ve been wrong before.