The final game of Round 3 in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup finished with Eric Wynalda’s Cal FC disposing of the Portland Timbers in extra time, 1-0. The result capped off a two day stand between MLS teams and non-MLS teams including a few PDL and amateur teams. Of the 16 games, only eight MLS sides were victorious.
Half of the US-based MLS teams advanced. This may be a testament to the teams from lower divisions. This may be a testament of the lack of interest in the Cup to some MLS teams. But the desire of some of these clubs is noticeable.
MLS clubs like Seattle and DC United have not let the cup slip from their grasps too easily. Seattle is attempting to score their fourth consecutive Open Cup trophy. As for DC United, playing in what could be considered a Derby Game versus Richmond in Round 3 of the Cup took them 107 minutes to get the game winner.
Marcelo Saragosa, who has had a rough campaign with personal issues, came up huge for United. He latched on to a loose ball in the box during a corner kick in the 107th minute to secure United’s spot in the next round to face Philadelphia Union at the Maryland Soccer Plex next week.
Ben Olsen even said that this game was a gut-check for the first placed MLS side. A comment that can only mean he might not let the next few rounds slip.
Coming up against a Philly team that needs to prove something be more of a test. Philly is one of the worst teams in the league, and needs some motivation moving forward.
But United will be trying to add more trophies to the mantle in the 99th edition of the US Open Cup. In a facility that should draw a nice United crowd, the team still has a lot to play for.
Considering the next league game is not for a couple more weeks, I’d expect players coming back from injury to get some reps, as well as some key starters to play a big role in these cup games.
After all, the winner of the Open Cup receives and automatic bid to play in the CONCACAF Champions League.
Playing clubs from other nations successfully as United plays domestic clubs has to be a future objective.
Let’s just hope there isn’t too much more drama on the United front, and its smooth sailing in the cup from here. Advancing to the quarter-finals will be a big achievement, and further will be a testament as to where this team stands.
Jay Landskroener - @rockthepost
Writer and host for Rattle the Frame (@rattletheframe) Blog/Podcast. Contributor to kyck.com about DC United.