TUKWILA, Wash. – When it comes to the US Open Cup, Sigi Schmid is never one to hold back his opinion.
Schmid has guided teams to the Open Cup final six times and won it four times, including three straight with the Seattle Sounders from 2009-11. And while his appreciation for the tournament is well documented, he certainly has a bone to pick with the schedule makers who announced Thursday that MLS teams will likely enter this year’s fray when league play is on hold for the World Cup.
“Don’t get me started on that,” Schmid told reporters. “The Open Cup comes right at the time when we’re supposed to have off time from MLS. It’s a situation for us where hopefully the games get scheduled around June 10 or 11 so we can actually give our players a little bit of time off.
“[The Open Cup schedule makers] got all excited because they saw an open weekend so we can schedule games. Well, if they schedule games, there’s no point of us having off time, we may as well play a MLS game.”
MLS teams will enter the tournament in the fourth round (June 10-18), allowing for the possibility of weekend games for the first time in the tournament’s modern era. Home teams will ultimately be allowed to pick which day they play.
The league will play its last game before the World Cup break on June 11 before resuming on June 25 (the Sounders play league games on June 7 and June 28). And while the US Open Cup did not feature MLS teams during the league’s break for the World Cup in 2010, this year MLS teams could play up to two tournament games during the break, with the fifth round scheduled for June 24-25.
Not surprisingly, none of this is welcome news to Schmid.
“I thought the break was good because it would give us time to give our players some time off, but also our staff some time off,” he said. “I don’t think our staff has ever had any time off in the middle of it. Not that I’m planning to go to Brazil – because I’m not – but it would also give people the opportunity to go to the World Cup for four or five days or six days, whether you’re a trainer or a team administrator or something like that.
“Instead, the New York office will be there and the US Soccer office will be there,” he added, “and the rest of us will toil away here and watch it on TV.”