Mauro Diaz set up two goals and then converted a penalty kick in the first half, before adding a third assist in the second half, and FC Dallas defeated the New England Revolution 4-2 in front of a standing room only crowd of 16,612 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.
With owner Clark Hunt and team president Dan Hunt looking on, the last remaining MLS team owned and operated by the Hunt family took home its second Lamar Hunt US Open Cup trophy; the first coming back in 1997 before the trophy was eventually named after Lamar in 1999. The then-Dallas Burn defeated DC United 5-3 on penalty kicks after playing to a scoreless draw in regulation. It was also the first US Open Cup final rematch since 1944. The two teams met back in 2007 with New England coming away with a 3-2 win on the same field, including a goal from the game’s ESPN color commentator Taylor Twellman.
With the win, FC Dallas earns a $250,000 cash prize, and a spot in the 2017/18 CONCACAF Champions League.
It didn’t take long for the game to get going. In the sixth minute, Gershon Koffie played a pass to Juan Agudelo, who was posting up Dallas center back Walker Zimmerman at the top of the box. Agudelo spun Zimmerman neatly and took a quick touch to set up his shot before beating Dallas goalkeeper Chris Seitz to put the Revolution up 1-0 early.
Agudelo’s goal is the second-fastest goal scored in a US Open Cup Final in the Modern Era (1995-present). The only goal that was faster was Luciano Emilio of D.C. United who scored in the 4th minute in 2008.
Dallas was quick to respond though. In the 15th minute, Diaz drove a low, very early cross into the box to Maxi Urruti, who needed just one touch to control it and fire past New England keeper Brad Knighton for the equalizer.
Minutes later, Mauro Rosales went down in the box under a challenge from Watson, but referee Baldamero Toledo did not blow the whistle. It would prove to be an irrelevant moment.
In the 40th minute, a Dallas corner wasn’t quite cleared by the Revs and Diaz floated a feathery cross back into the box and it found the head of Matt Hedges who finished calmly to make it 2-1 Dallas.
Several minutes of added time were needed at the end of the first half due to several players needing treatment in the first half. One of those players was Je-Vaughn Watson, who had to be substituted right before halftime. He was replaced by Chris Tierney as New England coach Jay Heaps had to burn his second substitution before halftime; Kei Kamara was brought on for Koffie in the 42nd minute.
To make matters worse for New England, the first half went on just long enough for Jose Goncalves to bring down Matt Hedges in the box during a free kick to earn the home side a penalty kick. Diaz stepped up and converted to add a goal to his two first half assists and put his team up 3-1 going into the locker room at halftime. The four combined first half goals were the most in an Open Cup final since 1983.
Diaz continued his stellar form in the second half, placing a perfect through ball to an on-rushing Urruti who calmly slotted home to make it 4-1 Dallas in the 61st minute.
The two almost repeated their connection for a third time a few minutes later, but Urruti was whistled for offside coming off a Diaz free kick. Kei Kamara almost got one back for the Revs in the 67th minute, but his leaning header went just wide of goal.
Urruti continued to go hunting for a third in the 71st minute, but his header from second half substitute Tesho Akindele hit the far post. New England’s final substitute, Teal Bunbury (on for Kellyn Rowe), almost made an instant impact but his curled shot went just wide of the far post.
Then in the 73rd minute, Juan Agudelo found himself open at the far post and received a fortuitous deflection off a Dallas defender on the cross from Bunbury and brought it back to 4-2.
Kamara got his head on another cross in the 77th minute, but Seitz did well as he made his only save of the evening for Dallas. In the 82nd minute, Victor Ulloa, who scored the winner for Dallas against Los Angeles in the semifinals, came on for Diaz, who received a standing ovation from the home crowd as he exited the game.
It was a history-making night for Diaz as he broke multiple Open Cup Final records for the Modern Era (1995-present). Diaz broke the single-game record for assists (3) and points with five (1 goal, 3 assists). He also brought his tournament total to five assists which ties Diego Serna’s single-tournament mark set in 2000 with the Miami Fusion.
“Mauro’s performance tonight, I thought, was a collection of what he has done this year. Mauro showed the heart of this club.”, Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja said of his captain’s performance.
“It means a lot. Tonight is a night I won’t ever forget.”, Pareja added when asked about what it meant to win his first trophy as a head coach.
Cup finals are traditionally fairly low-scoring affairs, but with six total goals, the 103rd Final is the highest-scoring championship game since 1984. That year, New York’s AO Krete defeated Chicago’s Croatian SC 4-2.
Although the 2016 edition of the tournament is officially in the books, Open Cup fans need not worry: Qualifying is already underway for the 2017 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup!
#USOC2016 NOTES (TheCup.us)
* 16,612 was the announced attendance which shatters FC Dallas’ club record for US Open Cup attendance. The previous record was set in 2007 when 10,618 attended the Final against the New England Revolution. The total ranks 8th among US Open Cup Final attendance figures in the Modern Era.
* Maxi Urruti of FC Dallas and Juan Agudelo of the New England Revolution become the first pair of players in the same game to each score multiple goals in a Final (Modern Era). Prior tonight, only one player (Sanna Nyassi of the Seattle Sounders in 2010) had scored more than one goal in a Final since 1995.
* With the win, FC Dallas ends a 19-year trophy drought, which was, by far, the longest among MLS teams.
* FC Dallas becomes just the second Texas-based club to win the US Open Cup (Dallas Burn – 1997).
* This is the 31st US Open Cup win for FC Dallas in club history, which moves them into a tie for 4th place among clubs in the Modern Era.