Image: Darren Abate / San Antonio FC
When expansion sides El Paso Locomotive and Austin Bold FC join USL Championship in 2019, the league will have four active teams in Texas. Is it time for supporters to take the rivalry to the next level by adding an in-state Cup? At least one coach believes someone should make it happen.
When speaking to Called Offside after a preseason training session ahead of a friendly vs El Paso Locomotive, San Antonio FC head coach Darren Powell mentioned he wishes there was an in-state battle between the teams.
“From my perspective, it would be great if somebody can put a Texas cup together,” Powell said. “I think it would give the fans of each of those rivalries something to cheer about and it could almost be a mini-league within the league where at the end of the year the team with the most points takes home the Texas trophy.”
Here’s my proposal of how it could work.
USL Championship’s rapid expansion has decreased the number of times rivals must play each other every regular season from an ungodly four down to an even home and away matchup. With four teams contending for a Texas title, that would mean supporters would only need to keep track of 12 games between the group. Those matches are as follows:
- Sat 3/23 RGV at El Paso
- Sat 3/30 SA at Austin
- Sun 4/21 El Paso at Austin
- Sat 5/25 SA at RGV
- Sat 6/22 Austin at RGV
- Wed 6/26 El Paso at SA
- Wed 7/3 Austin at SA
- Wed 7/17 SA at El Paso
- Sat 8/17 RGV at SA
- Sat 8/24 El Paso at RGV
- Sun 9/1 RGV at Austin
- Thu 10/10 Austin at El Paso
Ignoring any U.S. Open Cup or USL Playoffs matchups, the schedule is balanced across the board. A winner could be declared based on accumulated points in Texas matches, with a tiebreaker similar to that used in other competitions. The well-known Cascadia Cup between MLS teams Portland Timbers, Seattle Sounders, and Vancouver Whitecaps for example uses the following system (from wikipedia):
The winner each year is decided by these criteria, in order:
- Greater number of points in all Cascadia Cup matches.
- Greater number of points earned in matches between teams tied on points.
- Greater goal difference in matches between teams tied on points.
- Greater number of goals scored in matches between teams tied on points.
- Reapply previous three criteria if two or more teams are still tied.
- Greater goal difference in all Cascadia Cup matches.
- Greater number of goals scored in all Cascadia Cup matches.
- Smaller number of disciplinary points in all Cascadia Cup matches (yellow = 1 point, red = 2 points).
So there is desire from at least one team, a balanced schedule in which to track points, and an established set of tie-breakers ready to be adopted or modified. From here, it is all in the fans’ hands.
If fans want this competition, surely leaders from each team’s fan base could come together to promote it organically, create a trophy, and agree upon a name (yes, Texas Cup appears to be taken).
What do you think about a possible in-state cup? Let us know on social media @CalledOffside and we may use your reactions in a follow up.