New on SocTakes: 2018 U.S. Open Cup regions are kinda weird

U.S. Open Cup regions

Photo credit: Jamie Smed

Recently on Twitter, my friend and former colleague Chad Irvine pinged me to ask if I might hop on my soapbox and write (complain) about the region designations for the 2018 U.S. Open Cup.

If you’re unfamiliar, the tournament in the early rounds splits the bracket into regional groupings. This helps keep travel distances down, promotes local and regional rivalries, and generally makes a lot of sense.

The Open Cup regions were announced as part of the second round pairings recently, and at first glance, everything seems pretty typical. The teams along the West Coast and in Arizona are grouped together, the Midwest down to Texas is grouped together and the teams along the Gulf Coast are grouped together. For the most part, it all makes sense.

But when you look a little closer, things start to get a little off.

The Indy Eleven are lumped in with the Southeast region, while both North Carolina teams are lumped in with the Northeast region. Let’s just check that out on a map.

Now, I might be looking at this all wrong, but it seems to me that Indianapolis is not exactly anywhere remotely near the Southeastern United States. In fact, Indy is hundreds of miles north of Charlotte.

That means FC Cincinnati could end up traveling all the way south to Cary, which Google Maps lists as 514 miles, instead of the far closer, much more sensible destination of Indianapolis — literally one fifth of the distance.

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And because this is my article and I’m complaining about things, I decided to go for broke. Let’s say the following scenario happens: The “The Miami FC” Miami FC B, the B team of the recent NASL competitor, the The “The Miami FC” Miami FC, wins its play-in whatever and its next few games, and the Indy Eleven win their first few games as well. In the bracket, they end up playing each other. I don’t currently know the scheduling rules well enough to say for certain if this is possible, but for the sake of this grievance, let’s assume it can. They end up playing each other, and the team elects to travel by bus.

That right there, the distance from their respective stadia, is a whopping 1,203 miles. Google Maps estimates 17 hours and 13 minutes if they take toll roads, and 18 hours and one minute if they don’t.

Now, doing the math here, we end up with a result that is a goddamn eternity on a bus. Yeah, they might could fly and probably might would, but that’s not the point. The point is that Indianapolis is not in the southeast of anything, except maybe like really far southeast Chicago. And even that’s a stretch.

Follow John on Twitter: @JohnMLTX.

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