DC United has not always done well in the U.S. Open Cup. Losses to the Richmond Kickers in 2004 and the Harrisburg City Islanders in 2007 still haunt the club.
But for the past three years, United has been a dominant force in the Open Cup. And I think I know why.
MLS teams have a tendency to start many of their reserves in Open Cup matches. That hasn't changed. And D.C. United is no different from any other MLS club in that regard.
The difference lies in our depth. I'm not saying that United's depth is more talented than that of other MLS teams, I'm just saying that our depth has more recent in-game experience. Experience that is a direct result of our frequent early season injuries.
When United inserts reserves into its starting lineup in Open Cup matches, those reserves are guys like Carey Talley, who started ten matches earlier in the season. And guys like Danny Allsopp, who had two goals in league play before losing his regular starting job. And guys like Bill Hamid, who earned four league starts this season when Troy Perkins was struggling. You look at the Open Cup rosters of many other MLS teams, and you see guys who have played seldom few minutes. United's injuries actually work in their favor here.
Anyway, I was only able to watch a couple minutes of the match due to the issues with the video stream, but I'll stumble through some player ratings after the break.
D.C. United will have to wait over a month to be able to continue their Open Cup run, as their semi-final match against the Columbus Crew will take place on Wednesday (!!!!) September 1 at RFK Stadium.
I'm not necessarily advocating that we should root for more injuries to our first teamers before that date, but I guess it wouldn't be an entirely bad thing.