Greunebaum watches off to the side as Raging Rhinos reserve keeper Tim Melia makes the only save in penalties. (Pic from: Rhinossoccer.com)
U.S. Open Cup: Rochester Rhinos 1, Columbus Crew 1 (Rhinos win 5-3 on PK's)
I'm not a happy man right now.
Look if New England or Chicago wants to stink it up against a second or third division side, that's fine. But, we are the Columbus Crew.
We shouldn't lose against the fricken Rochester Raging Rhinos, no matter who is on the field. Also, if you want to be a top flight organization, you actually have to attempt to win everything. Or if you have to throw a few duds out there, at least attempt to give an above half-hearted performance. However, it seems that Warzycha has graduated from the Sigi Schmid, "who gives a damn about the Open Cup" school of knowledge.
The overall lineup the Crew started with tonight would be lucky to compete with USL-2. Guys like Elenio, Nyzamba, and Grendi may be hard pressed to find starting time with the Crew's opposition tonight.
The result was the predictable pitiful Open Cup performance, where the Crew hold on and limp into overtime. But, you're fully aware that the little minnows that could will prevail because the MLS side just doesn't give a damn. The team's display wasn't helped by the fact that apparently the Crew have a scared coaching staff who apparently don't want to win trophies and don't have a killer instinct. Of course, players like Schelotto, Hejduk, and Padula are out of the question at this stage, but as far as I'm concerned everyone else is fair game for at least 45 minutes. The coaching staff has to put some competitors out from the start if they want to compete. Even a side called the Raging Rhinos isn't going to fall over just because you're the defending MLS Cup Champions.
Also, this would have been a grand old time to have Pat Noonan for 90 minutes, wouldn't it have been? That trade doesn't seem like a lovely "because he is surplus" idea now, does it? Especially since the Crew didn't have a player they were itching to sign right away as a replacement. What the hell is the point of getting rid of Noonan and letting his roster spot occupy dust for a month when he could have helped us out in this competition? I'll fill you in, it was a dumb move timing wise if you don't have someone better in mind to take his spot.
But, hey who cares? Right. I know some might be saying at the moment, "why all the frustration? It's just the Open Cup, only USL teams care about that." I say "b*llshit."
This isn't the hardest competition to win and if Warzycha wants to keep his job, it would be helpful for Warzycha to have a trophy to point at by the end of the year. As the Crew just had to beat a USL-1 and USL-2 team on the road, and then beat probably another USL-1 team, and then possibly a MLS team at home in the final. The result would have been another nice shiny trophy for the Crew. But, Warzycha just let opportunity number one roll on bye with less then a fleeting glance. Opportunities two and three will be much harder to woo into a black and gold submission.
So, overall to sum up the night, a cross between pathetic and ridicoulous comes to mind. How hard is it to talk this up?
The name on the trophy is Lamar Hunt, the guy who built our stadium and the father of our owner. The U.S. Open Cup is the domestic cup for all of the United States. Further, its a grand accomplishment to win any tournament and it might have been the easiest and only route this year for Warzycha to capture hardware.
Hey, though, I'm glad that the Crew are overly confident that they got the 2009 MLS Cup and the Concacaf Champions League in the bag. Because I'm not totally confident yet that they will be the last man standing in either competition. Heck, even the less useful Trillum Cup hasn't been captured yet. And, MLS mise well hand the Supporters Shield to Houston already.
Oh, and one more slightly important thing, Crew fans actually care about this competition. Heck, a nice group of them made the 7 hour trek today to watch part-timers like Grendi screw the pooch and give Rochester and their retarded announcers (on 107.3 who laugh at injuries and talk aimlessly about anything but the game for a good 10 minutes) something to cheer about. A similiar nice group that included myself, made an insane, U.S. Open Cup there and back trip to Peoria last year for another overtime loss (and as an aside, I think that might be our fourth overtime Open Cup loss in five years and six overall matches. Our only victory in all the years since 2005 against RSL last year). So, yes we all do care about the Open Cup. It's silverware and we want our side to try hard to win every little bit of it.
And, with that in mind, bravo to Warzycha and the Crew! Way to fight for the shirt today!