2016 US Open Cup Final preview: Why FC Dallas or New England Revolution will lift the trophy on Tuesday

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  • September 12, 2016
A statue of the late Lamar Hunt on display outside of FC Dallas' Toyota Stadium in Frisco, TX. Photo: FC Dallas

A statue of the late Lamar Hunt on display outside of FC Dallas’ Toyota Stadium in Frisco, TX. Photo: FC Dallas

On Tuesday night in Frisco, Texas, soccer fans will gather at Toyota Stadium to witness a rematch of the 2007 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup Final. It will feature the same teams, at the same stadium.

FC Dallas will look to avenge their loss in the 2007 Final to the New England Revolution in what is a battle between two teams who are desperately looking to add to their trophy case. Both clubs have just one US Soccer Major to their credit, FC Dallas won a US Open Cup title in 1997, and the Revolution’s only major came in that 2007 title game.

This is the 103rd US Open Cup Final and some fans might be surprised to learn that this is just the fifth time that a pair of clubs have met more than once in a title game. Five-time winners Bethlehem Steel and the Fall River Rovers met three straight years between 1916-18. Stix, Baer & Fuller from St. Louis played the Pawtucket Rangers (Rhode Island) in back-to-back years in 1934 and 1935. The last championship rematch the tournament had was during World War II when Brooklyn Hispano defeated Morgan Strasser (Pittsburgh) in 1943 and 1944.

2016-us-open-cup-trophy-press-conferenceThe two teams, aside from trying to break their respective trophy droughts, they are trying to win a championship for some relatively trophy-starved states. The state of Texas has only seen one US Open Cup title (1997 – Dallas Burn) with just six teams reaching the Final (4 of them being FC Dallas). This is the 17th time that a team from Massachusetts has reached the championship game and nine of those teams lifted the trophy. However, aside from the Revolution’s 2007 cup win, the state hasn’t had a winner since 1947 (Ponta Delgada).

The winner of Tuesday’s Final will received a $250,000 cash prize and a berth in the 2017/18 CONCACAF Champions League.

The game will be broadcast live, for the second straight year, on ESPN2 and Univision Deportes. Fans can watch the game online through the Watch ESPN app. Kickoff is scheduled for 10 p.m. Eastern Time.

Below, you will find links to our tournament coverage on TheCup.us, as well as an in-depth look at both teams entering Tuesday’s championship game.

You can also follow qualifying for the 2017 US Open Cup using the hashtag #USOC2017 and TheCup.us’ Qualifying page.

You can get all the latest US Open Cup updates through Twitter, using the hashtag #USOC2016. Use that same hashtag on Instagram to share your US Open Cup-related photos.

#USOC2016 coverage:
* 2016 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup schedule, results (video/audio links)
* 2016 US Open Cup bracket (TheCup.us)
* 2016 US Open Cup statistical leaders
* 2016 TheCup.us Player of the Round winners
* 2016 Meet the Underdogs series
* USSF’s new US Open Cup qualifying tournament has challenges to address after year one
US Open Cup Final goalscoring leaders (1914-2015)
Series of forfeits, teams with ineligible players overshadow 2016 US Open Cup
* MLS-owned USL teams no longer eligible for 2016 US Open Cup, confirms USSF
* One is enough: NPSL champion New York Cosmos B withdraws from 2016 US Open Cup

#USOC2017 coverage:
* Find the #USOC2017 qualifying scoreboard on TheCup.us home page
* 2017 US Open Cup qualifying tournament set to begin Sept. 10 with 64 Open Division amateur teams
* Which NPSL teams will qualify for the 2017 US Open Cup?
* Which PDL teams will qualify for the 2017 US Open Cup?

More US Open Cup Final coverage
* FourFourTwo’s “Cup Tied” series
* FC Dallas, New England Revolution share trophy thirst entering U.S. Open Cup final
* USSoccer.com’s Open Cup coverage
* US Open Cup 101: Everything you need to know about the historic tournament
* Kei Kamara’s status for New England’s US Open Cup final up in the air
* Armchair Analyst: Revs have a shot vs. favorites Dallas in US Open Cup
* FC Dallas not worried about home loss just before hosting US Open Cup final
* Revs firing on all cylinders with win over New York City FC
* The story of the Dallas Burn, 1997 US Open Cup champions
* 2016 US Open Cup Final press conference
* Oral history of the New England Revolution’s 2007 US Open Cup title

Help the coverage on TheCup.us
* Support TheCup.us: New Del Rey City jerseys available for purchase
* Appreciate what we do at TheCup.us for last 13 years? Donate here
* TheCup.us is looking for writers/editors, graphics, WordPress gurus & people who can handle digital ad sales (paid position). Email us here

Twitter (#USOC2016) | Facebook | InstagramFlickr | Reddit

FC Dallas: 2016 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup champions
New England RevolutionNew England Revolution  
2 : 4
FC Dallas    FC Dallas
 Toyota Stadium - Frisco, TX 


New England Revolution Open Cup records
Overall: 17-11-5 (3-2 PKs) | Home: 11-4-3 (2-1 PKs) | Away: 5-7-2 (1-1 PKs) | vs. MLS: 5-7-1 (1-0 PKs)
Last entry: 2015 (Lost 1-0 in OT vs. Charlotte Independence of USL in Round 4)
Best finish: 2007 US Open Cup champions
Leading goalscorer (all-time): Taylor Twellman (7)
Leading goalscorer (2016): Teal Bunbury (3)


FC Dallas Open Cup records
Overall: 30-16-6 (5-1 PKs) | Home: 17-6-3 (2-1 PKs) | Away: 13-10-2 (2-0 PKs) | vs. MLS: 11-11-3 (2-1 PKs)
Last entry: 2015 (Lost 6-2 at Sporting KC of MLS in Round 5)
Best finish: 1997 US Open Cup champions
Leading goalscorer (all-time): Kenny Cooper & Abe Thompson (6)
Leading goalscorer (2016): Carlos Lizarazo (2)


WHY FC DALLAS WILL WIN

By Adam Uthe

(Why New England will win is down the page)

Four months ago the 103rd Lamar Hunt US Open Cup kicked off with a Modern Era (1995-present) record 92 participating teams.

Now we’re down to just two.

FC Dallas celebrate a goal against OKC Energy FC in Round 4 of the 2016 US Open Cup. Photo: OKC Energy

FC Dallas celebrate a goal against OKC Energy FC in Round 4 of the 2016 US Open Cup. Photo: OKC Energy

MLS leaders FC Dallas will host the New England Revolution on Tuesday night in front of a reportedly sold-out crowd at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. Here are a few reasons why the Hoops will take home the trophy and could end up taking the first step to becoming the league’s first team to win three trophies in one season.

They’re The Best Team In MLS

Let’s start with the obvious: FC Dallas will win because they are the better team. In fact, they are the best team in MLS if you look at the standings. Despite a 1-0 loss to the Colorado Rapids on Saturday night, Dallas is currently five points ahead of Toronto FC and the Rapids for best record in MLS. Colorado does have two games in hand and Toronto has one, but if you’ve watched MLS all season you’d still feel comfortable declaring Dallas the best team. They’ve won the most games (15) and if you’re a fan of advanced stats, they’re averaging a league-best 1.76 points per game.

New England Isn’t Very Good

Ryan Hollingshead of FC Dallas races to the ball in a 2016 US Open Cup Semifinal match against the LA Galaxy. Photo: LA Galaxy

Ryan Hollingshead of FC Dallas races to the ball in a 2016 US Open Cup Semifinal match against the LA Galaxy. Photo: LA Galaxy

If you look at the Eastern half of the standings in MLS, you’ll find the New England Revolution fighting for their playoff lives with just 33 points from 29 games played. Their points-per-game currently sits at a meager 1.14 and their league-worst goal difference of -14 is actually five goals worse than the Chicago Fire and Columbus Crew, who are currently tied for fewest points in the overall league standings. They may be fighting for a playoff spot in the East, but in the overall league standings they’re just 14th out of 20. You could even make the argument that their toughest opponent was the New York Cosmos in Round 5 since the Cosmos have been one of the best, if not the best, team in the NASL. After that, they faced an average Philadelphia Union side and they were gifted the aforementioned Chicago Fire in the semifinals.

Balance And Depth

Unlike Toronto (Sebastian Giovinco) and Colorado (Jermaine Jones and Tim Howard), Dallas has been successful throughout this season without relying heavily on one or two players. Michael Barrios leads the team with eight goals in league play, followed by offseason acquisition Max Urruti with seven, and then Tesho Akindele with six. Midfield maestro Mauro Diaz, who typically creates first and leads the team with 11 assists, has gotten in on the action with five goals himself. Even with the departure of Colombian winger Fabian Castillo (fifth on the team with five goals and five assists), Dallas is creating goals from multiple positions.

The same has been true during their Open Cup run.

FC Dallas celebrate the game-winning goal in extra time stoppage time against the LA Galaxy in the 2016 US Open Cup Semifinals. Photo: FC Dallas

FC Dallas celebrate the game-winning goal in extra time stoppage time against the LA Galaxy in the 2016 US Open Cup Semifinals. Photo: FC Dallas

In Round 4 against OKC Energy they recalled Coy Craft left back from Oklahoma and he ended up providing the assist on both of Dallas’ goals, both scored by holding midfielder Carlos Lizarazo. Not to be outdone, Colin Bonner, also recalled from OKC to face them, scored the sixth and final penalty kick in the shootout to see the Hoops advance.

In Round 5 against Colorado it was Urruti’s turn as he scored the winner in extra time, with Mauro Diaz supplying the first goal in regulation. In the quarterfinals against Houston it was Castillo who stepped up and scored in stoppage time in the second half to help Dallas advance past their in-state rivals and into the semifinals. Against the LA Galaxy in the semifinals, Dallas needed extra time again (more on that trend in a moment) and it was center back Matt Hedges who scored first in the 116th minute before the unheralded Victor Ulloa score just seconds before the final whistle to send Dallas to the final.

So the team has scored six goals in four US Open Cup games and Dallas is looking to become the first team in the Modern Era (possibly of all-time) to win the tournament without having a single player who has scored more than one goal in the competition.

They’ve Faced Adversity In Every Round … And Won

As you might have noticed above, the road to this year’s final for Dallas hasn’t been easy. They needed a penalty shootout in Round 4 against USL side OKC Energy. In Round 5 they had to go to extra time against a very good Colorado team. The Quarterfinals were their only regulation win and that game would’ve gone to extra time as well if not for the heroics of Castillo. Then in the semifinals they needed two goals from the final five minutes of extra time to advance past Los Angeles.

Anything can happen in a cup final, but by most objective measures you’d have say that FC Dallas are the favorites the lift the trophy on Tuesday night.

FC Dallas’s Road To The Final

Round 4: 2-2 draw (6-5 PK win) vs. OKC Energy (USL)
Round 5: 2-1 OT win vs. Colorado Rapids (MLS)
Quarterfinals: 1-0 win at Houston Dynamo (MLS)
Semifinals: 2-1 OT win at LA Galaxy (MLS)

Texas teams in the US Open Cup Final (all-time)

1991: Richardson Rockets
1995: El Paso Patriots
1997: Dallas Burn (Champions)
2005: FC Dallas
2007: FC Dallas
2016: FC Dallas

The New England Revolution captured the club’s first-ever US Open Cup championship (and the first championship of any kind) with a 3-2 win over FC Dallas at Pizza Hut Park, a stadium where they had lost the last two MLS Cup championship games. Photo: Rick Yeatts

The New England Revolution captured the club’s first-ever US Open Cup championship (and the first championship of any kind) with a 3-2 win over FC Dallas at Pizza Hut Park. Photo: Rick Yeatts

WHY THE NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION WILL WIN

By Brian O’Connell

If there’s any indication the New England Revolution shouldn’t be overlooked in Tuesday’s US Open Cup Final, just cue the highlights from their most recent performances.

Instead of resting his starters in advance of the Final, Revolution coach Jay Heaps employed a first-choice XI, and they did well to show how dangerous they can be in Saturday’s 3-1 win over New York City FC.

The Revolution received scores from Juan Agudelo, Diego Fagundez, and Lee Nguyen, all of whom have benefited tremendously from the recent switch to a 4-4-2. But it isn’t just the goalscoring that’s made the eighth-place side a formidable foe for FC Dallas.

After the team sputtered along in a 4-2-3-1 that rarely served the attacking talents well, the move to the diamond midfield has given the likes of Fagundez, Nguyen amd Kelyn Rowe more opportunities to make the kind of short and quick passes that put Colorado’ top-ranked defense to the test in a 2-0 win on September 3.

The New England Revolution celebrate after a goal against the Philadelphia Union. Photo: David Silverman | New England Revolution

The New England Revolution celebrate after a goal against the Philadelphia Union. Photo: David Silverman | New England Revolution

The attack isn’t the only department that’s improved since the switch. The back four, which was much-maligned by mental mistakes and uncharacteristic miscues, has only conceded twice in their last four matches. With fewer gambles required from the fullbacks in the 4-4-2, Andrew Farrell and Chris Tierney have recommitted themselves to their defensive duties to frazzle opposing offenses.

Another development that’s made the Revolution a team to be reckoned with lately? The emergence of goalkeeper Brad Knighton. Bobby Shuttleworth’s ongoing struggles opened the door for Knighton, and the former backup has made the most of the opportunity. Since taking the reins, the veteran keeper has collected two clean sheets, and perhaps more importantly, provided stability to a back four that looked lost far too often prior to the switch at goalkeeper.

While some may call the Revolution’s recent form nothing more than a fluke – especially with the squad still operating below the playoff line in the Eastern Conference – it would be a mistake to simply hand the Lamar Hunt trophy to FC Dallas prematurely.

The New England Revolution celebrate after their PK shootout win over the Philadelphia Union. Photo: David Silverman | New England Revolution

The New England Revolution celebrate after their PK shootout win over the Philadelphia Union. Photo: David Silverman | New England Revolution

Yes, Dallas is in the midst of a remarkable season in which the word “treble” has been dropped on more than one occasion by many pundits. And yes, they may enter Tuesday’s final with fresher legs after coach Oscar Pareja rested many of his starters in Saturday’s loss to Colorado.

But the Revolution are playing with a full-tank of confidence as of late, and as we’ve seen all too often in tournament play, sometimes the edge belongs to the team playing with the full belief that it can’t be beat.

New England Revolution’s Road To The Final

Round 4: 1-0 OT win at Carolina RailHawks (NASL)
Round 5: 3-2 win at New York Cosmos (NASL)
Quarterfinals: 1-1 draw (4-2 PK win) vs. Philadelphia Union (MLS)
Semifinals: 3-1 win vs. Chicago Fire (MLS)

Massachusetts teams in the US Open Cup Final (all-time)

1916: Fall River Rovers
1917: Fall River Rovers (Champions)
1918: Fall River Rovers
1920: Fore River Rovers
1924: Fall River Marksmen (Champions)
1925: Shawsheen Indians (Champions)
1927: Fall River Marksmen (Champions)
1930: Fall River Marksmen (Champions)
1931: Fall River Marksmen (Champions)
1932: New Bedford Whalers (Champions)**
1946: Ponta Delgada
1947: Ponta Delgada (Champions)
1950: Ponta Delgada
1959: Fall River SC
2001: New England Revolution
2007: New England Revolution (Champions)
2016: New England Revolution

** Same club as Fall River Marksmen with different name/location

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