In a tournament that was born a century ago to emulate tournaments like England’s FA Cup, it would be fitting that this year’s final will be so similar to the FA Cup final played earlier this year. DC United are in the midst of a historically bad regular season, sharing some similarities with Wigan Athletic who became the first FA Cup champion to be relegated.
On the other side of the ball is Real Salt Lake, who are among the league’s elite, much like Manchester City in the Premier League, who suffered a 1-0 loss to Wigan in their cup final.
The game will be broadcast live on GolTV starting at 9 p.m. ET and RSL will offer English and Spanish language radio. Fans can also follow all the action on Twitter with the hashtag #USOC100.
|2013 US OPEN CUP FINAL
DC UNITED (MLS)
REAL SALT LAKE (MLS)
Rio Tinto Stadium – Sandy, UT
9 p.m. ET
ENGLISH RADIO: ESPN700
SPANISH RADIO: La Gran D 102.3,
Juan 1600 AM
Find those links below as well as an in-depth look at each match-up:
* 2013 US Open Cup results
* 2013 US Open Cup bracket
* 2013 US Open Cup goalscoring leaders
* TheCup.us Player of the Round awards
* The First Cup series (1913/14)
* US Open Cup Final 1914-present
* US Open Cup Final all-time goalscorers
* Biggest Open Cup controversies: Part 1 | Part 2
* Official name of the Open Cup a mystery
DC United (MLS) at Real Salt Lake (MLS)
Rio Tinto Stadium; Sandy, UT – 9 p.m. ET
TV broadcast: GolTV
English Radio: ESPN700 (RSL)
Spanish Radio: La Gran D 102.3 FM & Juan 1600 AM (RSL)
DC United Open Cup records
Overall: 29-10-4 (2-2 PKs) | Away: 7-6-2 (2-0 PKs) | vs. MLS: 9-7-2 (0-2 PKs)
Last entry: 2012 (Lost 2-1 AET vs. Philadelphia Union in Round 4)
Best finish: 1996, 2008 US Open Cup champions
Real Salt Lake Open Cup records
Overall: 6-4-0 | Home: 6-2-0 | vs. MLS: 1-2-0
Last entry: 2012 (Lost 3-1 vs. Minnesota Stars FC in Round 3)
Best finish: 2011 Quarterfinals (Lost 2-0 at FC Dallas)
Real Salt Lake and DC United have only met once this season, with United pulling out a 1-0 win on March 9 at RFK Stadium. Lionard Pajoy headed home the eventual game-winner when Nick Rimando saved a curling shot from John Thorrington. This is the first meeting between the two teams in Open Cup play. Real Salt Lake holds the advantage all-time between these two teams, 6-4-6.
DC UNITED’S US OPEN CUP HISTORY
The two-time Open Cup champions have been one of the powers in the tournament since they entered the competition for the first time in 1996. United’s 29 wins and five championship game appearances are second only to the Chicago Fire (31 wins, 6 title games) and winning a third would put them in a club with the Seattle Sounders (2009-11) and the New York Pancyprian Freedoms (1980, 1982-83) as the only three-time champions. United remains one of two DC-area clubs in the 100-year history of the tournament to reach the championship game (Club Espana won the 1987 US Open Cup)
DC UNITED’S LEAGUE FORM: (Previous 5 matches) LLDLL
DC United is currently experiencing one of the worst MLS seasons of all time. United has won only three regular season games this season, all inside the friendly confines of RFK. With a 15 percent win percentage this season, DC United can walk away with a trophy while also setting a maximum of eight MLS records for futility.
DC UNITED’S PATH TO THE FINAL
DC United started out their Open Cup run with a penalty kick thriller in Richmond, Virginia against the Richmond Kickers of USLPRO. In a game that saw two DC players receive a red card, United pulled out a 4-2 penalty victory. In the round of 16, DC United took on the Philadelphia Union at the Maryland Soccerplex. United cruised to a 3-1 win on the strength of a Dwayne De Rosario hat trick. Two weeks later they played the New England Revolution, again at the Soccerplex. Chris Pontius, Dwayne De Roasrio and Lionard Pajoy all tallied goals for the hosts, and United moved on, 3-1. In the semifinal of the Open Cup, United traveled to Toyota Park, where they took on the four-time champion Chicago Fire. In a tense and chippy affair, both Dwayne De Roasrio and Nick DeLeon netted goals, and DC United moved on to their fifth championship game with a 2-0 scoreline.
KEY PLAYERS: DC UNITED
Chris Pontius (#13) will be a force to reckon with in this game after having been rested in United’s 4-1 loss against Toronto FC on Sept. 28. Pontius has been a occasional feature for United this season, only scoring two goals after dealing with small hamstring and groin injuries, but looks to be ready to make his mark on this Open Cup final. Bill Hamid (#1) is the wildcard on the United side coming into this matchup. Backup keeper Joe Willis had previously started every match of their Open Cup run this season, including a Player of the Round performance in the Semifinals, but Hamid is being handed the start for the final. The DC United Academy product has been a busy in net this season, notching 68 saves. If the final proceeds to penalty kicks, it should be noted that Hamid has blocked two of five penalty attempts against him this season.
Dwayne De Rosario, making his first appearance in the Open Cup Final, is tied for the tournament lead in goals with five. He has nine career tournament goals, which ties him for third with teammate Carlos Ruiz among all MLS goalscorers in the Modern Professional Era. If he’s able to score more than one goal in the game then he would break the Modern Professional Era record for most goals in a tournament. David Bulow (Richmond Kickers, 2011), Herculez Gomez (Los Angeles Galaxy, 2005), Melvin Tarley (Minnesota Thunder, 2005), Josh Wolff (Chicago Fire, 2000), Welton (Miami Fusion, 2000), Mugurel Dimitru (San Diego Flash, 1999) and Marquis White (San Francisco Bay Seals, 1997) are the only ones to score six.
Dwayne De Rosario – 5
Nick DeLeon – 1
Lionard Pajoy – 1
Chris Pontius – 1
Daniel Woolard and Dennis Iapichino were both listed as questionable for the MLS regular season game against Toronto FC on Sept. 28. Both players should be available to play by kickoff.
OPEN CUP FINAL EXPERIENCE
One thing that United have going for them is that they have a lot of Open Cup Final experience to draw from. Dejan Jakovic and Chris Pontius both started for DC in their 2009 loss to the Seattle Sounders, which featured James Riley starting on the backline. Riley is attempting to add to his MLS record four Open Cup titles (New England in 2007, Seattle in 2009, 2010, 2011). He will also join Osvaldo Alonso, Andy Williams and Peter Vagenas as the only players in the Modern Professional Era (1995-present) to play in five US Open Cup Finals.
Sanna Nyassi made a splash in his only Open Cup Final appearance in 2010 with the Sounders. Not only did he become the first player in the Modern Professional Era to score multiple goals in a Final, but prior to his two-goal performance, no one had scored more than one career goal in the championship game. Carlos Ruiz has played in two finals but came up short both times, losing with the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2002 and FC Dallas in 2007. Marcelo Saragosa has an Open Cup championship medal, winning with the Galaxy in 2005.
WHY DC UNITED WILL WIN
DC United will win this game on the backs of their rested starters. United head coach Ben Olsen rested nearly all of his regular starters in last weekend’s league match against Toronto FC. United will have a very fresh and rested lineup, which could prove vital if this game were to go to extra time or penalties. They will also win if Bill Hamid has a quality game and keeps his cool. The USMNT pool goalkeeper has proven that he can come up with amazing saves in big games, such as the 2012 playoff legs against the New York Red Bulls. If his temper gets the best of him and he pulls a Josh Wicks, then United know that Joe Willis can fill in as he has all tournament long. Finally, pure grit can push this United team to victory. The MLS season has not mattered to United for a couple weeks, and the team has been focusing on the Open Cup final for some time. Expect to see a very sharp, tactically aware United team, more than in weeks past.
WHY DC UNITED WON’T WIN
The United offense has been several steps short of anemic during the entirety of the MLS season. Currently United has scored more own goals (4) than their leading scorers, Dwayne De Rosario and Luis Silva, have (3). If they turn in another lackluster performance on the offensive front, they will have no shot of winning against a very strong, tactically disciplined Salt Lake backline. United will also lose this game if they don’t establish a rhythm early. The Black-and-Red have, as stated above, not played a meaningful game in quite a while. If they come out “rusty” and are not able to establish a rhythm early, Real Salt Lake will capitalize on that and exploit United’s lack of cohesion in front of what is expected to be a sold-out crowd at Rio Tinto Stadium.
REAL SALT LAKE’S OPEN CUP HISTORY
The goal of Real Salt Lake is simple; find success in the US Open Cup. This year, they have finally accomplished that. Since their inaugural season in 2005, they failed to qualify four years in a row (2007-2010), and didn’t win more than one game in a single Open Cup prior to this year. As an organization, they market their Cup games very well, and last year they set an attendance record for the Modern Pro Era for a non-doubleheader/non-final (17,212). But unfortunately for RSL, that record crowd watched the home team get upset by the NASL’s Minnesota Stars. This year, they’ve put their poor history behind them and will host the first-ever US Open Cup Final in the state of Utah.
RSL’s LEAGUE FORM (Previous 5 matches) WLLWW
Real Salt Lake rebounded from back-to-back losses to Seattle and San Jose to earn a 1-0 road win against the Vancouver Whitecaps this past weekend to put them in a tie for first place in the Western Conference with the Sounders. Devon Sandoval, the team’s leading goalscorer in Open Cup play with three, scored the lone goal for RSL to keep them in the race for the Supporters’ Shield. They are currently one point behind the Red Bulls.
RSL’s PATH TO THE FINAL
Real Salt Lake may not have played a Major League Soccer team until the Semifinals, and haven’t played a game away from home in the tournament, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t have a difficult road to their first championship game. They began with a 3-2 extra time win over the NASL’s Atlanta Silverbacks where Devon Sandoval and Khari Stephenson each scored OT goals to lift RSL. In Round 4, RSL rallied from an early 2-0 deficit to send the match into extra time where the offense exploded for three goals. Sandoval and Stephenson scored again in the extra frame, along with Javier Morales, to send RSL to the Quarterfinals. After a 3-0 shutout of the Carolina RailHawks (NASL) with goals from Tony Beltran, Chris Wingert and Alvaro Saborio, they had their biggest test with the Portland Timbers in the final four. Goals from Saborio and Plata had the home team in front 2-0, but Portland threw the kitchen sink at them in the final 12 minutes and after giving up a stoppage time goal, RSL held on for the win.
RSL is attempting to become the fourth team in the Modern Professional Era to win an Open Cup title without playing a single game away from home, and just the second team to play every game in the same stadium (Chicago Fire in 2006 at Toyota Park). The other two teams to accomplish that feat were DC United in 2008 and the Seattle Sounders in 2011.
KEY PLAYERS: REAL SALT LAKE
Much like league play, it’s been a balanced attack by Real Salt Lake in the US Open Cup. The key to success in the Open Cup is usually depth, and RSL’s has been on display with Devon Sandoval leading the team with three goals and Khari Stephenson with two. At the center of the goalscoring production all season has been Javier Morales who leads the team in assists with 10 and is second behind Alvaro Saborio with eight goals. As the league’s top offensive team, the biggest key might be the defense, led by US internationals Kyle Beckerman and goalkeeper Nick Rimando.
Devon Sandoval – 3
Khari Stephenson – 2
Kyle Beckerman – 1
Tony Beltran – 1
Javier Morales – 1
Joao Plata – 1
Alvaro Saborio – 1
Chris Wingert – 1
Defenders Rich Balchan and Kwame Watson-Siriboe are out due to injury, as well as goalkeeper Josh Saunders.
OPEN CUP FINAL EXPERIENCE
There are five players on the RSL roster who have been a part of a US Open Cup Final, but Nick Rimando is the only one who actually stepped on the field in a title game. Khari Stephenson (Kansas City Wizards, 2004), Ned Grabavoy (Los Angeles Galaxy, 2005) and Abdoulie Mansally (New England Revolution, 2007) all lifted the trophy, while Rimando and Kyle Beckerman both fell short as teammates with the Miami Fusion in 2000 in their loss to the Chicago Fire.
WHY RSL WILL WIN
The easy answer is because they are playing at home in front of an expected sold-out crowd and they are one of the best teams in MLS, playing against the worst team in the league. They also have revenge on their minds as United only has three league wins this year and one of them was against RSL early in the season. The retoric around the home team’s camp has been to make the tournament a priority and that approach may ultimately pay off as home teams are 11-3-2 (1-1 in PKs) in championship games since 1995. However, of the last six finals, the home team is 3-2-1 (1-0 in PKs).
WHY RSL WON’T WIN
RSL will be up against a well-rested underdog who has nothing to lose. For weeks, DC United has been out of the league playoff picture, so the Open Cup has become a focus for them to salvage their season. A team that has a number of players with championship game experience, who rested most of their starters this past weekend, could come in and quiet the crowd early and put the pressure on the favorites.