Wednesday, July 22, 2009

US Open Cup Final Set; Other News

So DC United will manage to play the entire US Open Cup tournament from their backyard. They defeated the Rochester Rhinos 2-1 last night at the Maryland Soccerplex, setting up a final against the Seattle Sounders at RFK Stadium on September 2. Back to back Open Cup championships would be nice, and while many people clamor for the Open Cup to be viewed with more importance and glamor among MLS teams and the general US soccer public, it will always be a second tier event. DC's interest began last year largely predicated on earning a slot in an international competition in light of an extremely disappointing regular season. This year DC's Open Cup defense has allowed the team to blend in youngsters without putting a big strain on the team, particularly with no additional travel required. Could a double be looming? DC is certainly a threat this year and while there's a long way to go in the season (even though there's only 11 MLS games left), I'd be surprised to see DC end up empty handed come November.

In Seattle, it's been a pretty good first season as the Sounders look for their first piece of silverware and try to match the Chicago Fire (I hate just typing out the stupid MLS nicknames) as the only expansion teams to win silverware in their inaugural seasons (Chicago won the double that year, defeating a DC United team that might have been the best team in MLS history; the Dynamo also won the MLS Cup in their first season in Houston, but that was a relocated team, not an expansion team). The Sounders have a nice squad with Kasey Keller in goal, Brad Evans, Freddie Ljungberg, rookie Steve Zakuani, and the excellent Fredy Montero. Fulham has shown interest in Montero, and losing the on-loan striker would be a huge blow to Seattle.

In Euro transfer news, apparently not everyone wants to go to Real Madrid - some may actually want to join the reigning European Champions. Amazing more people haven't had that rational thought.

In Italy, recently promoted Livorno has interest in Landon Donovan. Could the US star be on his way to join Gooch in the Serie A? Donovan is clearly nearing the peak of his game, and an attempt at succeeding in Europe is certainly on the horizon, whether its a summer or winter transfer remains to be seen.

Juventus isn't hiding its interest Uruguayan defender Martin Caceres, who currently plays for Barcelona. Olympiakos has also shown some interest in Caceres.

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