Ben Olsen and D.C. United lift the US Open Cup title. ( Jim Urquhart-USA TODAY Sports)
Upset may not be the right word to describe what happened last night in Sandy, Utah between D.C. United and Real Salt Lake. Maybe adding the word epic to upset makes it more meaningful, whatever the case may be, it was possibly one of the biggest upsets we've ever seen in Major League Soccer and the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.
The Portland Timbers parlayed a strong first-half finish into three second-half goals to stun FC Dallas in a heart-stopping 3-2 win in a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal match at FC Dallas Stadium.
"I thought we played extremely well that first 30 minutes, got a goal.
One of the more underreported stories from Saturday's 2-2 draw with Sporting Kansas City was the injury starting center back Matt Hedges suffered that forced FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman to go with rookie Walker Zimmerman alongside George John to start the second half.
And that decision to go with FCD's top pick in the 2013 draft definitely paid off as Zimmerman delivered the game-tying tally in the 90th minute thanks to some great service from Dallas captain David Ferreira.
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The Portland Timbers were one win away from hosting the 2013 U.S. Open Cup final, but they would need to defeat Real Salt Lake in their home park to do that. RSL got an early goal from Alvaro Saborio and a second one from Joao Plata in the 72nd minute, but had to hold off a furious rally by Portland including a header from Diego Valeri in stoppage time.
The Portland Timbers sit on the verge of history in the U.S. Open Cup should they secure a win in Real Salt Lake. The winner of the match will not only have the right to play for the USOC title and a berth in the CONCACAF Champions League, but they will also host the winner of the other semi-final - Chicago and D.
The Portland Timbers learned on July 30 that they could host the 2013 U.S. Open Cup final, as the winner of their semifinal pairing was designated as host club by virtue of a coin flip held at U.S. Soccer Federation headquarters. Should Portland defeat RSL in the August 7 semi-final match, they would host the winner of the Chicago - D.
The Portland Timbers were hoping to make history in the U.S. Open Cup by advancing to the semi-finals, but they would have to beat a familiar foe, FC Dallas, in a venue that they hadn't lost in all season, FC Dallas Stadium. Behind three goals in the second half and withstanding a furious rally by FC Dallas late, the Timbers won 3 to 2 to advance to the semis where they will visit Real Salt Lake on August 7.
The Portland Timbers are near the end of a wild sequence of matches in MLS league play and within the U.S. Open Cup tournament before getting a break, but they first must deal with a USOC quarterfinal match with FC Dallas on the road. The teams played on June 15 in a raucous affair that was settled with one goal - a Darlington Nagbe effort in the second half - while they've also played each other two times previously.
No matter the subject, one of the better quotes on FC Dallas is none other than French-born striker Eric Hassli. Of course, the veteran forward missed Saturday's 2-2 draw with Sporting Kansas City due to a back issue. However, Hassli now appears to be at 100 percent and ready to contribute in Wednesday's quarterfinal match with Portland in the Lamar Hunt U.
On Wednesday night in Frisco, FC Dallas will look to extend its run in the 100th edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup with a quarterfinal match against the Portland Timbers. All told, FCD has been to the USOC quarters on 12 occasions and is 7-5 in USOC those matches. Here's how that breaks down:
Year Result Foe
1996 W, 3-2 Seattle Sounders (A-League)
1997 W, 4-1 Chicago Stingers (USISL D-3 Pro League)
1998 W, 5-1 Nashville Metros (USL A-League)
1999 L, 1-2 at Rochester Raging Rhinos (USL A-League)*
Photo: Courtesy of US Soccer Among the struggles soccer has faced in finding its place in the American sports landscape has been the disconnect between its fans and the long history of the sport in the US. This disconnect exists even among knowledgeable professionals who are paid to write about [...]
Robb Heineman was on Reddit today to have an AMA (Ask Me Anything). During the interview he gave some pretty candid answers to some questions and obviously had a bit of fun as well (including giving a date for the installation of the Sporting Blue turf).
Here are some of the highlights and some commentary.