October 1, 2013
BLACK AND RED REDEMPTION
DC United wins US Open Cup
SANDY, Utah----DC United finally has something to smile about. After a season at the bottom of the Major League Soccer standings, the Black and Red hoisted a trophy on Tuesday night, capturing the 100th U.S. Open Cup with a 1-0 upset win over Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium.
|Lewis Neal celebrates after scoring the game-winning goal for DC United in Tuesday’s US Open Cup Final against Real Salt Lake.
Photo by Tony Quinn
Lewis Neal scored the only goal, in the 44th minute. John Thorrington worked his way down the left side and sent a ball into the penalty area. The ball bounced off an RSL player and Neal pounced on the loose ball and sent a left-footed shot just inside the far post.
In addition to the trophy, United earns a spot in next year’s CONCACAF Champions League competition.
For RSL, the loss is the second in a championship final on their home field, after they fell by the same score to Mexican side Monterrey in the Champions League two years ago, stunning a home crowd of 17,608.
United, which has the worst record in MLS at 3-21-6, with no road wins in league play, won five straight games to capture the Open Cup, three of them on the road. United last won the Open Cup in 2008, and captured their first title in 1996, MLS’s first year.
The hosts controlled much of the possession, and outshot DC 18-6, but United, which has scored only 20 goals in MLS play this year, bunkered in on defense and relied on counterattacks.
Neal nearly set up Nick DeLeon in the 15th minute, but DeLeon could not connect with the cross.
RSL came close in the 27th minute, when Sebastian Velazquez found Joao Plata in the box, but Plata’s shot went high. Five minutes later, Kyle Beckerman’s shot was easily handled by D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid, who was making his first appearance in Open Cup play.
DC continued to absorb pressure and RSL could not find any accuracy. In the 35th minute, Alvaro Saborio sent his shot high, and five minutes later a free kick by Javier Morales on the edge of the box didn’t amount to anything.
Hamid didn’t have to make a strong save until the 51st minute of the game, stopping a curling shot by Ned Grabavoy. But RSL didn’t do much to help themselves Saborio had a chance negated by an offside call in the 55th minute and hit the crossbar four minutes later.
DC United almost doubled their lead in the 78th minute, when a ball from Luis Silva found Chris Pontius, but his header was blocked.
Hamid came up with his biggest save of the game in the 81st minute, stopping a shot by Saborio to keep the game at 1-0. A minute later, he punched away a dangerous corner kick. Grabavoy got in alone on Hamid in the 90th minute, but again the DC ‘keeper kept his sheet clean.