Are you old enough to remember the old saying about blind squirrels finding acorns?

Well, D.C. United isn’t called the “blind squirrels”, but they did find an acorn of such when they captured their third U.S. Open Cup in league history.

The storied Major League Soccer franchise D.C. United seized the moment at the 100th edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Lewis Neal scored a late first-half goal while goalkeeper Bill Hamid and the D.C. United defense held Real Salt Lake’s offense at bay en route to the organization’s third U.S. Open Cup crown for a 1-0 victory in front of 17,608 spectators at Rio Tinto Stadium.

D.C. United became just the third MLS team to win three championships at the U.S. Open Cup, joining the Chicago Fire (four) and Seattle Sounders FC (three). D.C. won the 1996 and 2008 U.S. Open Cups.

Except for U.S. Open Cup play D.C. United has had only three wins in ? regular season games.  That puts them at the bottom of league standings.  One wonders if this championship has saved the club’s season and Ben Olsen’s job as the head coach.

As the U.S. Open Cup champion, D.C. United garners a berth in the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League. United, with only three games during the MLS regular season, won more matches at this year’s Open Cup tournament (four wins and a draw/shootout to advance past third-round opponent Richmond Kickers).

With the first half winding down, D.C. United gained the upper hand against Salt Lake as Neal scored his first goal of the tournament in the 45th minute. The buildup developed down the left side with midfielder John Thorrington as he drew a couple of Real Salt Lake defenders before crossing the ball into the box. Salt Lake’s Carlos Salcedo deflected the cross, but Neal was there to clean up as his shot to the far right side of the frame eluded diving goalkeeper Nick Rimando.

Hamid made six saves on the night for D.C. as the game opened up for Salt Lake’s offense in the second half. Ned Grabavoy split the D.C. defense in the 52nd minute to force Hamid to lunge to his left for the save. Hamid also deflected a Saborio shot from up close at the near right post in the 81st minute.

• For winning the 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, D.C. United is awarded $250,000. Real Salt Lake is awarded $100,000 for finishing as the tournament runner-up.

• The U.S. Open Cup winner has been a Major League Soccer team for 14 consecutive years now. The last non-MLS champion was the A-League’s Rochester Raging Rhinos, who defeated the Colorado Rapids 2-0 in the 1999 final.

• Heading into the title match, Real Salt Lake had already enjoyed its best U.S. Open Cup run. Its previous top finish was advancing to the quarterfinals of the 2006 and 2011 tournaments, bowing out against the Colorado Rapids and FC Dallas, respectively.

• Salt Lake played all five of its U.S. Open Cup games at home at Rio Tinto. The semifinal and championship game home sites were determined by a coin flip and the earlier rounds were determined by random selection.

• D.C. United ended a four-year stretch of U.S. Open Cup Final wins by the host team. The previous time the home team lost was when D.C. United fell 2-1 Seattle Sounders FC in 2009 at RFK Stadium.

• In MLS play, the two U.S. Open Cup Final teams are on opposite ends of the spectrum. D.C. United holds the league’s worst record at 3-21-6 (15 points) and Real Salt Lake (15-10-6) holds a share of the Western Conference points lead with Seattle Sounders FC (51 points).

- U.S. Open Cup Match Report -

Match: Real Salt Lake vs. D.C. United

Date: Oct. 1, 2013

Competition: 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final

Venue: Rio Tinto Stadium; Sandy, Utah

Kickoff: 7 p.m. local (MT)

Attendance: 17,608

Weather: 71 degrees, clear

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F

RSL                        0 0 0

DCU                       1 0 1

DCU – Lewis Neal      45th minute


RSL: 18-Nick Rimando; 17-Chris Wingert, 6-Nat Borchers, 16-Carlos Salcedo (49-Devon Sandoval, 81), 2-Tony Beltran; 5-Kyle Beckerman (capt.), 20-Ned Grabavoy, 26-Sebastian Velasquez (23-Khari Stephenson, 69), 11-Javier Morales; 8-Joao Plata (13-Olmes Garcia, 57), 15-Alvaro Saborio

Substitutions Not Used: 12-Cole Grossman, 14-Yordany Alvarez, 24-Jeff Attinella, 28-Chris Schuler

Head Coach: Jason Kreis

DCU: 28-Bill Hamid; 2-James Riley, 5-Dejan Jakovic, 15-Ethan White, 22-Chris Korb; 23-Perry Kitchen, 24-Lewis Neal, 13-Chris Pontius (30-Conor Doyle, 86), 8-John Thorrington; 18-Nick DeLeon, 7-Dwayne De Rosario (capt.) (12-Luis Silva, 75)

Substitutions Not Used: 3-Dennis Iapichino, 19-Kyle Porter, 21-Daniel Woolard, 25-Jared Jeffrey, 31-Joe Willis

Head Coach: Ben Olsen

Stats Summary: RSL / DCU

Shots: 10 / 2

Shots on Goal: 6 / 1

Saves: 0 / 6

Corner Kicks: 10 / 1

Fouls: 15 / 17

Offside: 3 / 2

Misconduct Summary:

DCU – James Riley (caution)        21st minute

RSL – Kyle Beckerman (caution)  45+1

DCU – Nick DeLeon (caution)       58

DCU – Chris Korb (caution)          80

RSL – Nick Rimando (caution)     90


Referee: Juan Guzman (USA)

Assistant Referee 1: Kermit Quisenberry (USA)

Assistant Referee 2: Fabio Tovar (USA)

Fourth Official: Baldomero Toledo (USA)

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