With this trauma comes the usual question. Was the US Open Cup run worth it? Look what we potentially gave up for a tournament, wherein the end, we only made it to the semi-finals.
I’ve talked with friends who said they were fine with exiting the playoffs early until Louisville won. It’s as if that single moment diminished Cincinnati in some way. As if their win, made what we accomplished less.
Other friends of mine are hardware driven and may have been able to stomach it if we had won the US Open Cup. Seeing Louisville with a trophy gives them pause, and they question whether a USL trophy would be just as good or better for the club than the Open Cup run.
Of course, other people I’ve spoken with don’t see this is being about us, but still, hate anything good happening to our ugliest rival.
Here is my opinion… I don’t care.
Would I have liked to have seen FC Cincinnati make a USL Cup run? Sure. Would I have been cheering on the team at every game and traveling to the games I was able to? Sure. Do I think the team should try to win the trophy next year? Sure.
But, this year was about one thing, winning the MLS bid.
For my friends that think a USL Cup game in Nippert packed with fans would have been phenomenal, you are correct.
But it would never have topped the US Open Cup games we played this year. MLS Commissioner Don Garber and USSF President Sunil Gulati would not have visited. We would not have been on ESPN. We would not have had MLS coaches and players saying they want us in the league, expect us in the league. Taylor Twellman and Jesse Marsch were throwing us accolades on national television at other big games. US Soccer named Cincinnati as Soccer City USA.
Winning the USL Cup would have been a footnote compared to that.
Louisville is holding a trophy with commentators saying they won a crappy game that looked like sh*t because it was on a crappy pitch. They had a massive home field advantage that they used to its fullest. It doesn’t say as much about their team as everyone thinks. It’s also bad optics for USL. Let’s see what happens when they move to their new stadium with a regular-sized field and no turf seams.
They may have a cup, but we won the prize!
On December 14th, MLS will give FC Cincinnati a franchise. When we look back on 2017 that is what will be remembered. The magic of the US Open Cup run that ultimately earned us a place in MLS. As FC Cincinnati collect MLS Cups and Supporter’s Shields, and hopefully, CONCACAF Champions League wins, no one is going to be counting how many USL Cups we earned.