So, with the addition of the Copa Sudamericana and the early exit from the CONCACAF Champion's Cup, DC United are still in the hunt for five trophies (or trophy-ish inverted Star Trek badges stuck in a base - see Supporters' Shield at right). With a 28-man roster and only 18 "senior" players, where would you place your priorities?
1. MLS Cup - Well, duh! The final is in our house and I expect to be there to see United lift the cup. If RFK isn't the site for the final, then maybe there's some shuffling of the pack a bit, but for 2007, MLS Cup is job #1. Besides - I need to know what happens when we get our fifth star - do we get five little stars on the jersey or one slightly larger one?
2. Supporters' Shield - International competition is important to this club. So important in fact, that securing a place in such competitions for next year even takes slight priority over competing in said competitions this year, particularly because of the timing of those competitions. United has spotted the field a bit of head start, but it's a long, long summer.
3. Copa Sudamericana - We've got a little unfinished business not only with Chivas, but also with this competition. It does suck that we're drawn against Chivas again - a little variety would be nice - but we'll be hoping to be a team that's figured out where all the parts go by the fall. We can't give this too much priority because the stretch run into the playoffs takes precedence, but we should be throwing most of the first team and whatever youngsters prove themselves over the summer into this one.
4. SuperLiga - Sure it's the new kid on the block, but there's a million bucks in them thar hills, and this time the Mexican teams are in pre-season. Time for the depth to demonstrate itself because, if my math is right, we've got 6 games in 19 days between MLS and the SuperLiga first round. All this in the late July/early August heat. Ugh!
5. US Open Cup - You've got to be kidding me with this thing right? I really do wish that some effort would be made to hype the competition and build it up in status, but for now, we've got so much else on our plate that this should be the reserves' big reward. Players coming off of injuries, the super-subs, and the youngsters should be trotted out for this one. Not that I expect them to roll over and die. We've got some talent in our depth and they should be able to make a bit of a run.
So that's about the shape of things as I see them. Not that we should write off any of the competitions. It's just about priorities. Any trophy is a good trophy - so roll on with the medal ceremonies!