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Ship's Log, March 1: Every few years American soccer rejects its history

MLS should be fully participating in the U.S. Open Cup.

Last Updated
4 min read
Sam Navarro - USA Today Sports

Celebrating Ozzie Alonso during the Seattle Sounders 50th anniversary is perfect. MLS rejecting history by not-quite pulling out of the US Open Cup is not.

It's like a pattern. Things start going really well and then MLS lurches to a new angle, forgetting the way things were.

Think back to when MLS tried to force the Sounders to be the not-Sounders. When that went well the league followed with a couple other teams that didn't reject their origins and histories.

A few years later, that embrace of history is gone. City FC as far as we can see.

St. Louis' launch leaned heavily into the region's soccer past, even if they did convince a team to fold. Then MLS will lurch back into rejection when San Diego abandons what made the city support lower-division soccer.

History. Modernity. History. Modernity.

It's a silly cycle and it is made more painful when fans of two-thirds of the teams in the league don't get to see their teams try to do what the Houston Dynamo did – beat the much-favored giants at Inter Messi to win a trophy.

T2 and Crown Legacy being in the Open Cup is a rejection of what made the Open Cup special. MLS deciding (and yes, the commissioner works for the owners) that Portland and Charlotte don't deserve to pursue a title is absurd.

It's even worse that D.C. United isn't involved on any level. They don't have a Next Pro team to put forward as a weak proclamation that they want to be the giants they once were. They're just quitting. A majority of the league is.

There's a veil of legitimacy that entrants in the Concacaf Champions Cup need fewer matches. They could call up their youngsters for the Open Cup match, playing, in effect, their Next Pro teams.

Instead, American soccer history loses. The Open Cup has a history of Sigi Schmid, Archie Stark, Seb Le Toux, Bob Bradley, Garth Lagerwey (as a player), Messi.

MLS is rejecting that. The diminished opportunity for players and communities to have what Kitsap had, what Kezar saw – it's sad.

At least the people of Washington will have multiple teams that do want to make history. As usual, the Sounders and soccer fans through the state have it better than most fans of the men's domestic game.

– Dave

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