A Facebook post caught my eye Friday and before I knew it, I was digging through websites trying to find out what I could about an amateur team out of California that calls itself La Maquina.
La Maquina doesn’t have a website. I stumbled across a Facebook page early in my search, but didn’t make note of it and now can’t find it again. On the contacts page of the UPSL site, the president goes by a single name.
The editor for the site I’m going to write this piece for gave me an email address for the assistant coach, but several emails have gone unanswered.
The UPSL site has minimal information. And when I say minimal, what I mean to say is that there isn’t even a current schedule. By going to some of the individual team sites, I suppose someone more industrious than I could cobble together a schedule of sorts, but there’s really no way to know if it’s complete.
And about a minute and a half ago, word came down that one of the teams in the first round has been disqualified. They were due to play in less than 24 hours.
I love the Open Cup so much. I do not have the words to express how much I love it.
The Open Cup, for all of its unpredictability and last minute disqualifications and the sometimes non-existent streams of early round games, is made of magic.
Seventeen MLS teams will enter in the fourth round. And there’s the possibility that a team of landscapers, accountants and college kids will face off against Robbie Keane or Kaka. My first USOC match saw a team of amateurs go toe to toe with a professional side whose striker was the all-time leading scorer of the Scottish Premier League. But we don’t talk about that. At least not more than once a year.
USOC is impossible and improbable and sometimes, if you’re very lucky, you get to see the (former) captain of the USMNT take a referee’s notebook and tear it up, earning himself a red card and putting his team on its way to finishing with just seven players against their closest rival.
For MLS players, it’s maybe just another few games tacked onto an already packed schedule, but for these lower league and amateur teams, it’s the chance to chase a dream.
This is where my frustration reaches a boiling point. The Open Cup is the longest-running tournament in US soccer having been played for over a century (the first trophy was donated by distiller Thomas Dewar) but until the later rounds, there’s little promotion, and very little media coverage. It deserves better.
The guys who are taking off work, using vacation days to live out a dream deserve better.