There has been an idea in my head that I have been trying to get out for a while. Basically it’s a trophy that is put on the line before any leagues regular season gets underway in Europe and I believe something like this can happen for US Soccer.
As all of you know the Trophee Des Champions came to Red Bull Arena this past July as the French Ligue un winners Montpellier faced the Coupe de France winners Olympique Lyonnais. It was a fantastic match that saw both sides trading goals and forcing penalties.
Olympique Lyonnais took the trophy and was declared the champions for the first title of the season. So after seeing that match and of course seeing other Super Cup matches all over Europe or displaying them in a different country, maybe it’s time to have a US Soccer Super Cup.
For one thing, there used to be a pseudo-event made of the first match every season, called MLS First Kick. This First Kick tended to be some permutation of two top teams, preferably held at one of the better attended stadiums. Two years ago it was the Galaxy visiting Seattle. This season there was no clear-cut opener that was spotlit by the league.
The formula for this US Soccer Cup would be the winner of MLS Cup would face the winner of the US Open Cup. If a team earned the “double” of both trophies, you could instead incorporate the Supporters’ Shield winner (or 2nd place, should a team completely dominate). At the moment I don’t think traveling to a European (or Asian) country would bring the tournament justice.
But the best part is that you could hold it anywhere. You could hold it in the MLS Cup Winner’s Stadium. You could pick a neutral venue. You could even give a team in the lower levels of US Professional club soccer a great boost by holding the event there. Wouldn’t it be nice to see the best in MLS at Lockhart Stadium in Ft. Lauderdale of the NASL, then another season down at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston of the USL Pro League and alternate every year? It would give the supporters of both winners a chance to visit the host city and to give the locals a chance to see two sides from the top division that would normally be drawn for US Open Cup matches or when they come over for a pre-season tournament. Additionally, the would be playing a game that meant something, earning a Cup.
Broadcasting the game could be NBC Sports Network or ESPN and instead of honoring the recent class of Hall of Famers for the defunct Soccer Hall of Fame, maybe before the US Soccer Super Cup match begins we can honor our heroes of the past before the start of this match.
Currently Sporting Kansas City is the US Open Cup winner and the regular season still has two plus months remaining before the playoffs begin. But to have a match to begin the MLS season with some significance before the regular season starts would be pretty cool. We keep discussing or demanding that some of the things that go on in Europe should be implemented here in our leagues, but I think this type of start to the league seasons that US Soccer could use this type of match to signal the true start of the season.
England has the Charity Shield, France has their Trophee des Champions, the rest of Europe has their Super Cups. Spreading the wealth for those that rarely see an MLS side with those supporters making vacation plans for tourisium in said city I think can make a big splash.