After his club dropped a 3-2 result in extra time to FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear questioned the tournament’s use of the overtime period.
The Texas rivals were tied at the end of regulation, 2-2, and went into the subsequent 30 minutes of extra time to determine a winner. Kinnear’s club conceded the winner to Tesho Akindele eight minutes in and spent the remaining 22 minutes chasing an equalizer.
It was an extra 30 minutes in a game that was wide open and saw both teams show signs of tired legs before the 90 minutes were up. With each having road games this weekend as they return to MLS play, Kinnear argued it was a half hour that was not needed.
“I think the first thing we should do is cut out extra time in this competition,” Kinnear said. “I think it’s ridiculous. It’s insane the amount of minutes they put on these guys and I think US Soccer has to look at that and realize it’s stupid, just go straight from regulation to penalty kicks. To play an extra 30 minutes doesn’t make any sense.”
Going to extra time is a usual, but not universal, occurrence in knockout games around the globe. However, Kinnear’s contention is that with the MLS schedule being as heavy as it is, the added time is a burden for teams when the alternative – a penalty kick shootout – can provide the result.
“It’s our oldest competition so there’s something almost sacred about it,” said goalkeeper Tally Hall. “But with the league like it is and the travel schedule there might be something to saying no overtime and go straight to penalties. It’s the Open Cup. It’s an important tournament in the fabric of US soccer.”
Outside of the final 30 minutes, Kinnear and his charges took positives and negatives from the performance.
The attack looked promising as the Dynamo scored twice, and Omar Cummings – who scored a quality equalizer in the 62nd minute to ultimately send the game to extra time – and other players looked to get in a rhythm, along with showing a what Kinnear called a “competitive spirit” for 120 minutes.
However, the Dynamo boss pointed to the untimely giveaways and gifted chances that ultimately proved to be the club’s demise.
“Sometimes it’s not a good idea to be generous,” Kinnear said. “It was open and when you shoot yourself in the foot a couple of times you’re giving the other team some chances that they probably should get but they do and they take advantage of it.”
“It’s been a sadly comical period of time for us with what we’re going through,” Kinnear said when asked about the pair’s injuries.
“It’s the second half of the season and our focus is solely on the league,” Kinnear continued. “There’s no Open Cup, there’s no CONCACAF [Champions League] and our schedule’s going to be a little more regular which will be nice. It’s nice to have that focus and to be able to concentrate on that.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.