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October 1, 2013 at 10:08 PM

D.C. United wins Open Cup in stunning upset on the road against Real Salt Lake

What an upset. U.S. Open Cup magic at its best.

D.C. United got a goal from Lewis Neal against the run of play and held on for a 1-0 road win against Real Salt Lake in the U.S. Open Cup final Tuesday at Rio Tinto Stadium.

D.C., of course, it on pace for perhaps the worst season in MLS history. Instead it has won a trophy and a berth into the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League. United has won three Open Cups, tied with Sounders FC for second most among MLS teams behind the Chicago Fire’s four. That’s 14 trophies overall.

RSL suffered another disappointment on the big stage, having gone 0-4-3 in games with a trophy at stake, as puts it.

The win will make it harder for Seattle to earn a backdoor CCL berth — see below — but I think Sounders fans should hold the team responsible for earning its own berth by winning the Supporters’ Shield and/or advancing to MLS Cup.

(As a quick explanation, CCL berths are awarded to the Open Cup winner, Supporters’ Shield winner and both MLS Cup finalists. If RSL won Open Cup and qualified for CCL again through the other three mechanisms, the extra berth would go to the team with the best regular-season record, which Seattle could seemingly be in line for. I know, don’t end a sentence with a preposition, but hopefully you get the point.)

As a local connection, James Riley won his fifth Open Cup trophy, an MLS record, according to an account that would know. Clearly that wasn’t lost on Sounders fans.

D.C. United, which was won the wrong end of a 10-2 shot advantage, gets $250,000 in prize money. Salt Lake, which played all its games at home, gets $100,000 for second place.


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