US Open Cup Primer: Predictions from Alternate Reality

In the world in which we walk and work, no one, but no one, knows the Lamar Hunt Krispy Kreme U.S. Open Cup (LHKKUSOC) Final takes place tonight. But in this crazy little niche existence that is the soccer blogosphere it’s the event of the day and previews of the game abound. Don’t believe me? Check out the Fiesta del Links posted on 3rd Degree. I tell you, it’s a veritable orgy of previews.

As we all know – or, as you will have found out after wading through all those previews – this year’s final pits an imploding FC Dallas side against a New England Revolution team made up of talented players serving life sentences in Steve Nicol’s system (wow, am I doing a lousy job of selling this one). In all seriousness, there’s something to love in almost every game and Dallas’ state of free-fall provides a pretty good story-line for this one.  With enough skill between them, the teams should put on a decent final – and at least Dallas should be  either willing, or compelled by their fans, to open up the game.  The wild card – and it’s about as “wild” as a seven of clubs – is the extent to which New England will go along.

But the most immediate question is, who will win? I found a couple people calling this one during my rounds on the Web:

Dan Loney Says It All: picks FC Dallas.

USSoccerplayers.com: picks FC Dallas (after reviewing DC’s loss to Chivas).

3rd Degree: picks New England…and it’s a Dallas outfit; go figure.

I invite anyone else out there to make a call, but here’s mine. I’m going with New England. Why? With Dallas’ confidence curled up at the bottom of the shitter, I trust New England’s organization and physical style to bully the Dallas attack – and that’s even with Shalrie Joseph sitting this one out.  In the end, New England only needs to buy enough time either Khano Smith, Steve Ralston, Taylor Twellman, Pat Noonan, or, hell, even Adam Cristman to find a way through Dallas’ six-directions-at-once back four. Put another way, I think Nicol has at last found an opponent in a final that fits his coaching methods through an unlucky accidents of circumstance (horrible run of form) and personnel (green, and as 3rd Degree points out, leaderless defense).

What am I hoping for? Good question. Nice as it would be to see the home team win, it is New England after all. You yell loudest at the ones you love most…or at least I do…and random strangers who harass cyclists…shit, that’s going to get me killed one day…

Unfortunately, that leaves the extremely small panel represented on this post divided 2-2 on who’s going to win. Anyone out there care to break the deadlock?

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6 Responses

  1. This one is hard to pick for me. I agree, Dallas’ confidence is shot at this point. However, New England can’t seem to score a goal in a Cup final at Pizza Hut Park even if the other team decided to take a nap. I wonder if Nicol is a big game type of coach, I’m starting to think no.

    I’ll go with the home team winning in PK’s after a 0-0 regulation time finish.

  2. Ooh…I’m jealous. I think you nailed it. Wish I thought of that.

  3. I pick NE, because even thinking about the possibility of a Dallas win makes me spit involuntarily.

    Ptoooie.

    (There. You see?)

  4. Crap. We’re tied again. 3-3. Remember kids: the outcome here decides the outcome there!

  5. FCD is in a bad way right now. Gimme NE 3-0.

  6. Well I’ll be damned, 2 goals in the first 30 minutes?!? Unbelievable…

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