DC United begins its 2010 US Open Cup campaign tomorrow night against the only other winless team in MLS, FC Dallas.
There have always been two different frames of mind when it comes to the Open Cup. Some teams choose to treat it as inferior to the MLS regular season, resting starters and sending out the reserves instead. But other times, a team might feel that the Open Cup gives them their best opportunity to win a trophy and to qualify for other international tournaments.
United is a team that has used both of these strategies in the past. I think we all remember the embarassing first round loss to the Harrisburg City Islanders at Hempfield High School in 2007. But the past two years, United has been a bit more conservative with its lineups and had a greater degree of success, winning the Cup in 2008 and advancing to the Final in 2009.
So how do we as a fanbase want DC to approach the Open Cup this year?
Do we want them to rest as many starters as possible and save them for the league match on Saturday? If so, then maybe you want to see Bill Hamid get his first start in net. And you'll want to see Boyzzz Khumalo and Tiyi Shipalane run things in the midfield. You'll want to see the fear inducing combination of Adam Cristman and Danny Allsopp up top.
Or maybe you're already ready to punt the regular season, figuring that United has little chance of winning any other trophies this year if they don't take the Open Cup seriously. If this is the case, then you'll want to see all of our available best eleven taking the field, including Jaime Moreno, Troy Perkins, etc.
I guess there could be a third option, which would be a combination of the two. How does Perkins in net but Moreno on the bench sound? The team could choose to play its younger starters like Santino Quaranta and Rodney Wallace, but give a little rest to the older fellas.
The lineup the team chooses could certainly depend on Dallas's strategy also. If they are giving Jeff Cunningham and other starters a rest, then we might be wise to do the same. Afterall, Andy Najar has looked very impressive when playing against lower level competition in reserve matches. And Brandon Barklage was the hero of our Open Cup campaign in 2009 before falling to injury.
What do you think?