Ok, some of you may have heard about the Kings Cup, but maybe don’t know what it’s all about. Before this season started we kind of manufactured a rivalry out of thin air with the Louisville City Supporter’s Group- The Coopers. True rivalries take years to build and have different reasons they come into existence. But rivalries make things fun. We realized that Louisville & Saint Louis would play 4 times and that it was geographically close enough to make road trips. It also helped that the Coopers were active on social media and was a group that we could banter with. Both teams being new to the league, it just seemed logical to have a little fun. And to be fair, artificial or not, it has been fun and the League kinda loved that two of the new teams had a reason to get up for the games.
If a rivalry is good, it doesn’t matter what the team records are- each team gets up to play each other. And the fans have a little extra fun. It’s not a true hate, but a point of pride. (This is America- we don’t do the Boca/River or Celtic/Rangers type rivalries.) We’ve tailgated with the Coopers when we’ve made trips to Louisville and hung out after the games. They came to our tailgate on their first trip here and this weekend they’re invited back. 99% of the interaction is friendly (both groups have idiots- what group doesn’t?) Yes occasionally someone takes it too far on twitter, but for the most part our groups are similar. Passionate fans that love their team and stand for them no matter what. I’m not ashamed to say I’ve got a few friends in the Coopers and I’m not the only one. I’ve got a couple that I don’t care for- but I’m sure they’d say the same about us. Hopefully we’ll see some of them in November for the USMNT game here in the Lou and we’ll stand with them in the American Outlaws section and cheer together for a change.
Another side effect of this “rivalry” has been #PizzaGate. It’s a long story, but it started with a bit of banter. Our GM threw shade on their GM. Their GM threw shade back. The Coopers made a GoFundMe page to raise money to bring Pizzas to our tailgate party for the last game and we decided to make it a charity fundraiser competition to raise money for food banks in our respective cities. So, because of rivalry and banter and trash talking, we’ve raise almost $10,000 collectively for our charities. It doesn’t matter who wins #PizzaGate because everyone wins.
Now, as for the games themselves and the actual awarding of the Kings Cup. The Coopers are creating the trophy and we’re paying for half of it. The winner will come down to the last game. The first game we lost in Louisville 2-0. The second game here was a 3-3 draw in a downpour. The third match was a 1-1 draw in Louisville. So, if we win the last game we’ll be tied on 4 points and the first tiebreak is aggregate score in the Kings Cup matches. Right now LCFC leads in that category 6-4. To overcome that deficit we have to score 3 goals more than they do in the final game. If we end up tied on aggregate it goes to table position and Louisville would win since they’ve had a decidedly better season than us there. And obviously, if they win the match out right they would win the Kings Cup. So, we need a few breaks to win, but there’s a chance. Either way- I think this has been a great first season for the Kings Cup and I want to thank the Coopers and Louisville City FC for their part.
Sadly, next season things will change. It looks like STLFC will be moving to the Western Conference because of the continued expansion in the USL. Hopefully we’ll still get a game or two with LCFC and can continue our “rivalry”. No matter what happens, its been great fun this first season to be a part of the Kings Cup. Come out next Saturday to cheer on our boys. The Coopers will be bringing a busload of fans and we’ll drink a little beer and talk smack before the game.