D.C. United stunned the Chicago Fire 2-0 on the road Wednesday night, booking their place in the final of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup against Real Salt Lake who defeated Portland 2-1 in Sandy, Utah, also on Wednesday.
The often discussed “Romance of the Cup,” is alive and well in United’s run to the Open Cup Final and is reminiscent of Wigan’s capture of the F.A. Cup over Manchester City last May, despite being relegated out of the English Premier League.
United have managed a paltry 13 points from 22 league games, while amassing 3 wins, 15 losses and four ties. Meanwhile RSL are at the top of the league with 38 points, level with New York Red Bulls.
An inexcusable error by Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson gifted United with a 44th minute goal from Dwayne De Rosario. Johnson, as talented as he is, brought back memories of his Olympic gaffe, when he was unable to hang onto a spinning, chest high deflection. De Ro made no mistake when the ball bounced his way, and Chicago was on the ropes.
The Fire was in deep trouble when Nick DeLeon doubled the United lead just three minutes after the break and the Fire never looked like they would catch the last place United.
Real Salt Lake earned the right to play host to D.C. on October 1st by virtue of a 2-1 win over Portland. Portland got their only goal of the night in the first minute of stoppage time, but the Timbers gave RSL all they could handle throughout.
Alvaro Saborio got the home side off to a fine start with a seventh minute goal set up by Kyle Beckerman. The Timbers put plenty of pressure on the Salt Lake defense and Nick Rimando had to come up with a huge save from a Will Johnson blast in the 40th minute to maintain RSL’s slim lead going to the break.
Johnson, a former Real Salt Lake favorite, was subbed out in the 63rd minute and the classy Salt Lake supporters sent him off with a nice ovation.
The all important second goal finally came for Salt Lake in the 78th minute off the boot of Joao Plata, with assists going to Saborio and Beckerman.
Diego Valeri needed two tries, but he was able to put his own rebound behind Rimando in the 91st minute, setting up a frantic finish. RSL hung on and will have to wear the mantle of favorites when D.C. United comes to town October 1st.