You know what, there are some really interesting tidbits in this MLSnet preview. Whoever did it deserved more pub than "MLSnet staff." (Hopefully it wasn't the same guy who put a pick of Jhon Kennedy Hurtado up on the home page for this game; Kennedy was red-carded in the semifinal.)
Is anyone else the tiniest bit suspicious about the "We hate each other. Grrr." business from Hanauer and Payne leading up to this? I mean, maybe it's real, but it's also good publicity. And, while MLS is better than the NFL or WWE in admitting potentially embarrassing stuff on its own website, it's not like "Bakary Denis fistfight" turns up anything on from the search engine.
But however good a job MLSnet is doing for its USOC coverage, Josh is still the place to be. Even if Josh is in a different place now. It's thecup.us - as in, who does the Cup belong to? Us!
For example, thanks to the data on thecup.us, we learn that today, DC United is hoping to break an Open Cup record that has stood for eighty years. Can you guess what that record is?
"Duh, attendance in the final."
Well...yeah. There's no need to be a smartass about it.
The posted record for an Open Cup final, and I imagine an Open Cup game of any kind, is the suspiciously round number 20,000, set in April 1929, six months before the Crash. Hakoah All-Stars of Brooklyn were the home team, Madison Kennels of St. Louis were the jobbers - the All-Stars, loaded with former Austrian pros, Hebrew hammered the dog show 3-0 on the day, 5-0 aggregate.
Oh...yeah. They had two-leg finals in those days, so if DC United technically wants to set an attendance record, they'd need to draw 38,000.
Part of the reason that record has stood for eighty years was the Depression. Part of it was the Soccer War that split the big eastern leagues into twain, thrain and quatrain. Part of it was the NASL shunning the tournament. But for the last decade or so, the big reason that's still the record is the complacency of the USSF, and lack of motivation from MLS teams. A post-MLS Cup consolation match never drew, and now it seems midweek distraction matches have trouble drawing.
The Fire have come the closest, going over 18K in 1998 and 19K in 2000. If one is sufficiently suspicious about the 20,000 number, then one might think Chicago did set the record, and the record is only nine years old instead of eighty. If anyone out there has any idea how one goes about double-checking the gate receipts from Dexter Park in Brooklyn from the Jazz Age, then please inform.
Last year, DC United missed the record by a mere 11,000 fans or so - hey, it's better than a lot of hosts have done, even/especially in the MLS era. Still, unless DC either breaks 20K, or breaks the Sounders to the tune of 6-0, I'd expect claims that Seattle would have broken the record yesterday. In the afternoon. Before a Mariners game, or whatever. Doesn't really pass the smell test, but if the Sounders win tonight in front of 2,000 fans, expect an ear-shattering mixture of gloating and complaining.
DC is both trying and not trying to become the first team to win the Open Cup two years in a row while missing the MLS playoffs two years in a row. I mean, they want one but not the other. You know what I mean. If that does happen, Tom Soehn will almost certainly be fired after having won a trophy for DCU every single year of his employment.
By the way, that particular record is in serious jeopardy - Soehn ain't winning no Supporters Shield this year, and while anything can happen in MLS Cup playoffs, that can't. Especially if you don't get there.
DC is also trying to become the first team in 25 years or so to win the Cup back-to-back, which would also make Soehn's dismissal a bit brutal for us Open Cup fans. I mean...if it isn't even a Consolation Cup, then how do we justify the thing? At least the New York Pan-Cyprians acted happy to win the thing.
Oh, right, who's gonna win. I dunno. They're both two games over .500. DC's in a little more trouble playoff-wise but they did have an important win in Chicago. (Just like everyone else, but that's not the point - if DC had lost, they'd be in complete free fall right now.)
MLSnet tells me - well, all of us - that Tyrone Marshall is questionable. Marshall's prime is way, way back there in the distance, but he does tend to come up big in big games, and it's not like DC United is intimidating anyone this year.
So usually when I have no idea who's going to win a game like this, I pick out some random stat and infuse it with overarching importance. DC United hasn't lost at home this year in the league, Seattle is 2-4-5 on the road. You'd think that would be enough of a clue.
Although, in 2005, San Jose was invincible at home in MLS, their only loss in Spartan Stadium coming in...the Open Cup. Still, I think this is DC's night, 2-1.