D.C. United has never had a losing record in U.S. Open Cup finals. The Black-and-Red won the tournament in their first appearance in 1996. Their all-time record in USOC finals dropped to 1-1 the following year. Eleven years later, United returned to the pinnacle to claim their second crown, and again, the next year, they fell in the final to give a 2-2 record. Tonight, los Capitalinos make their fifth appearance in the title game of North America's oldest soccer championship, and history - specifically the fact that they've never had a losing record - dictates that United will win tonight. So ignore all the talk about the worst record in the league and a chance to break nearly every MLS record for season-long futility. This thing is in the bag.
Of course, D.C.'s two USOC titles came against the Rochester Raging Rhinos and the Charleston Battery, and their two finals losses came to FC Dallas (in PKs) and the Seattle Sounders (who invented the USOC) - so United have never beaten MLS opposition with this particular trophy on the line. Maybe things aren't as rosy as all that, after all.
In any event, Ben Olsen's side are the clear underdogs on the road against Real Salt Lake tonight, history or no history. All the more reason to shock the world, Wigan-style.
Time: 9 pm EDT, 7 pm
enemy local (Mountain) time.
Venue: Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy, Utah
TV/streaming: This situation is at least as unfortunate as anything United has faced with their league game television travails this year. The match will be aired - technically speaking nationwide - on GolTV, an outlet which has lost almost all of its carriage on cable and satellite providers over the last few years. If you believe the prophecies (and you're a DirecTV subscriber), GolTV lives on channel 456. There are also whispers that Verizon FiOS might carry it. But basically, if you want to watch, you'll probably need to get out to a bar that's showing the game, because there will be no legal outlet streaming the game online. None.
As Pablo points out, though, there is an online audio stream from ESPN 700 radio out in Salt Lake:
Remember: if you can't watch tonight's game, a radio stream can be found right here: http://t.co/UbVrUoyY3c #USOC100 #DCU #RSL— Pablo Maurer (@MLSist) October 1, 2013
Match Previews: We've got our usual compliment, starting with this week's episode of Filibuster (our 50th episode!), which focuses exclusively on tonight's game, with guest Matt Montgomery from our sister site RSL Soapbox. ChestRockwell looks at the problems RSL will pose to United, and Stephen Whiting lays out some of the things the Black-and-Red will have to do to win. If you're feeling nostalgic, you can also look back at United's first USOC crown, back in 1996 and walk United's road through this year's tournament. The Washington Post's Steve Goff's preview is characteristically on-point, and Pablo Maurer has a great USOC FAQ over at DCist. Our friends over at RSL Soapbox haven't been slacking, either, as they look at RSL's opportunity to win the first professional championship for a Utah team on home soil and bring a photo gallery of RSL's preparation for tonight.
Projected D.C. Lineup: It's hard to deviate from Benuski's projection, as it's been Olsen's apparent first choice 4-4-1-1 for several weeks now. Bill Hamid will get the nod over Joe Willis (who has played every 2013 USOC game for United up to this point). The back line, from right to left, will be Chris Korb, Ethan White, Dejan Jakovic and James Riley. Perry Kitchen and John Thorrington will hold down the center of midfield, with Nick DeLeon and Chris Pontius running the wings. Up top, Dwayne De Rosario and Luis Silva will reprise their double-false-nine that held so much promise when Olsen first ran it out.
Match Prediction: I always love this part of the gameday posts, because (along with the lineup projection) it's complete speculation and holds me completely unaccountable for wild guesses. So I'm going full fanboy today: D.C. United has been unbeatable in this tournament this year. They win 2-0 tonight to claim the 100th U.S. Open Cup. There, I said it.
What Are You Drinking?: Regular commenters here and those who listen to Filibuster know the Legend of the PBR. Anytime Benuski drinks PBR during a United (or USMNT) match, the good guys score a goal. So I'm proposing we crowdsource this obviously validated source of good juju by all drinking the Blue Ribbon tonight. It's what I'll be doing at any rate. Incidentally, I'll be drinking my Pabst at the team's big watch party at Lucky Bar - so say hey if you see me there in my thumbprint jersey.
This is your spot for pre-game, in-game and post-game commentary and conversation. Have at it, boys & girls - this one's for a trophy.
More from Black And Red United:
- Fantasy Focus: Rising to another Lovel
- Monumental Network's first D.C. United game marred by production issues, but Dave Johnson and Santino Quaranta shine
- D.C. United Scouting Report, US Open Cup Final Edition: Real Salt Lake
- Filibuster Podcast: 50th Episode US Open Cup Extravaganza
- Escape the Shutdown with D.C. United's 1996 U.S. Open Cup Championship
- Three D.C. Councilmembers express skepticism on D.C. United stadium framework