The Ashton Gamble
After a few days of traveling, I'm back.
Last Wednesday, I sat at Audi Field and watched "a" reserve team get steamrolled by the New York Red Bulls. As soon as we saw the lineup, it was clear that DC did not have any intent to win the U.S. Open Cup; and that RBNY were likely going to win the round of 32 matchup.
Its not fair or appropriate to break down that game, because - as Ashton said - the players on that field had never even really practiced before. It's not even our reserve team... it was a team made up of reserves, Loudon players, etc.
For those of you who are mad about this... I get it. We are playing our biggest rivals, at home, in a cup that we might be able to win (or at least make a deep run). On the other hand, Ashton essentially makes the argument that the league is more important - and that we need to rest our players.
I see both sides. However, if Ashton is going to pull the "the league is more important" move... he BETTER be right. He admitted that he doesn't care about the Cup - probably the only silverware we were in position to have a shot at winning this season. You can't come out and say that and then follow it up with more bad results.
So we basically give up the Open Cup because of the importance of the league... and then what? We steal a point against a bad Miami side. Now, was it a good away point? Yes, definitely. Down 0-2 on the road and come back for a point... an excellent result in the end. But in the grand scheme of things, is that point worth giving up the Open Cup without a fight?
I think the answer will be identified on Wednesday. We welcome NYCFC to town - who have underperformed this year. A win will take us into playoff position. A loss? A loss will mean that we gave up the U.S. Open Cup in exchange for 1 point of of 6. That would make for a disaster decision.
On the other hand... a win takes us back to .500 and things are looking good! A lot on the line here. Was Ashton right to give up the Open Cup for the league campaign? I think Wednesday will *help decide that question.