In 20 days, the winner between Sporting Kansas City and the Philadelphia Union in the 2015 U.S. Open Cup Final will walk away from PPL Park with the Dewar Challenge Trophy, champions medals, a $250,000 prize and a berth in the 2016/17 CONCACAF Champions League to compete against the top teams in North America, Central America and the Caribbean.
But what if winning the U.S. Open Cup Final also earned the champion an opportunity to face the best teams in England?
That was the idea introduced by MLS Commissioner Don Garber on Wednesday in comments to the Associated Press while attending the Soccerex Global Convention 2015 in Manchester, England.
"We have been talking to the Premier League about doing some sort of official competition as opposed to just having clubs come over to the country on a random basis playing in a tournament that takes place every summer. I would love to find a way that we could play our cup champion and our league champion against an FA Cup and league champion in a tournament and play it in New York City every year. If not every year, then every four years.
"This concept of super cups involving the MLS, whether it's one with Mexico or one with some of the other leagues, would be smart. And many years ago they used to take place before MLS was in existence. It was called the Toyota Cup. That took place around the world. Overall there is no doubt that there are opportunities for the MLS and Premier League to work more closely together on either a tournament or some other type of activity, but that is about as far as it has gone. You have calendar issues, but there is no reason why it couldn’t (happen).”
So, for example, imagine the following four clubs that were crowned champions in 2014 having met in a formal setting this summer...
MLS Cup: LA Galaxy
U.S. Open Cup: Seattle Sounders FC
FA Cup: Arsenal FC
Premier League: Manchester City FC
...or simply recall the 2014 Champions Shield match-up between reigning MLS Cup champions Sporting Kansas City and reigning Premier League champions Manchester City FC at Sporting Park a year ago.
Garber's suggestion was picked up by publications on both sides of the Atlantic, including the Sport360 article on right, in addition to being discussed by Brian McBride and Stewart Robson on ESPNFC. Albeit with mixed initial reactions, the former players offered their quasi-support for the concept.
"If you play in preseason friendlies, you might as well play them as a competition and that would work well. It's just how are they going to prepare themselves (to get) ready for that tournament?" said Robson. "It’s a good idea but it just needs to be tweaked a little bit."
"It sounds like fun. It's going to take a lot of scheduling," McBride said. "I think the players would love it here. I don't think the players over there would love it so much...I think if you look at the possibility of it, sure let's do it. That's great."
Closer to home, count Sporting Kansas City defender Amobi Okugo among the advocates for American soccer's version of England's Community Shield as evidenced by this tweet last month:
Chime in with your thoughts in the comments section below and for more from Garber, listen to his full 45-minute "MLS at 20" discussion with Ben Grossman.