Mauro Manotas’ first half goals were enough to lead Houston Dynamo to their first Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup title.
The home Dynamo bested the visiting Philadelphia Union 3-0 at BBVA Compass Stadium on Wednesday, handing the Union a third USOC Final loss since 2014.
Philadelphia saw an own goal from Auston Trusty in the 65th minute.
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The ball was in each goal twice in the first four minutes, but only the latter counted on the score board.
Philadelphia’s Fafa Picault headed over Joe Willis, but was offside.
At the other end, Alberth Elis’ cutback pass from the touch line was missed by Philly’s Jack Elliott and Andre Blake, with Manotas stooped to nod the opener into the goal.
He’d score another in the 25th, dribbling down Main Street to drive a low left-footed shot past Blake, off the post, and into the goal.
A first time winner of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is guaranteed, and on Wednesday we’ll find out whether the trophy is headed to Philadelphia or Houston.
For what it’s worth, teams from Philadelphia have won the cup in previous editions dating back to the mid-1930s and well into the 1960s, but neither the Philadelphia Union nor the Houston Dynamo have snared glory in this particular celebrated tournament.
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The Union have come the closest more often, losing back to back finals in 2014 and 2015, while the Dynamo play host in their first ever USOC final.
“This isn’t like any other game,” said DaMarcus Beasley. “There’s no tomorrow in this. Whatever you put into this game is what you’re going to get out of it, because it’s one and done. That’s what I’ve told all the players. It’s one night. You get 90 minutes… to prove that you’re the best team on that day.”
As for the Union, the memories of finals lost are more motivation than anything. From Philly.com:
“I would like them to write their own history,” Gaddis said. “Every game is a new game, every day is a new day. What’s in the past is in the past, but what we can try to control — we can’t control the future — is trying to win the first trophy for this organization.”
Philly feels the better bet, having fairly firm control of a playoff spot in the East while Houston’s stuck 10th in the West, but don’t forget that the Union traveled a long way from home while Dynamo’s plus-4 goal differential — better than five current playoff teams –shows they aren’t a mess.
The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup draw is not going as planned, as the Portland Timbers protest the roster of victorious LAFC.
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Philadelphia, Chicago, and Houston were the other sides to get a place in the final four teams.
LAFC’s victory had already been marred by Adama Diomande‘s claims of a racial slur hurled his way, and now their victory may be in question altogether as U.S. Soccer issued a press release saying Thursday’s scheduled draw was postponed.
From a U.S. Soccer press release:
The decision comes as a result of a protest filed by the Portland Timbers in relation to the number of foreign players fielded by Los Angeles Football Club during Wednesday night’s Quarterfinal at Banc of America Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif.
The rule says a maximum five players without green cards can be in the 18. Portland started only two Americans, Jeff Attinella and Zarek Valentin, but have green cards for many others and rules are rules.
Will the Timbers take a semifinal berth via protest?
The 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is down to one non-MLS entrant after LAFC fought past Sacramento Republic’s dogged effort to make it two, twice equalizing en route to a 3-2 win.
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Louisville City won a battle of USL sides in Wednesday’s final day of fifth round action, knocking off Nashville SC by a 2-1 score.
Now attention turns to the quarterfinals, where USL champions Louisville City will face the Chicago Fire on July 18.
All four quarterfinals will be staged on that day, and the winner of Louisville-Chicago will face the winner of the duel between Philadelphia Union and Orlando City.
The other side of the bracket shows Houston Dynamo against Sporting KC, and LAFC against the Portland Timbers.
Chicago and KC have won the cup an MLS-best four times each, while Philadelphia has finished second twice.
The remaining quarterfinalists have not advanced to a USOC final.
Major League Soccer is taking a bit of a break from its season for the World Cup in Russia, but the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup rolls on for some of its teams.
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The Round of 16 will be staged over the next week, with Portland becoming the first team to clinch a quarterfinal berth.
The Timbers got a slick team goal, complete with back heel pass, as Sebastian Blanco supplied the finishing touch in Friday’s 1-0 win over the LA Galaxy.
Portland remains alive for its first USOC final with the win, while LA will not lay claim to a third title.
Still to come
Philadelphia vs. New York Red Bulls — Saturday
Sporting KC vs. FC Dallas — Saturday
Houston vs. Minnesota United — Monday
DC United vs. Orlando City — Wednesday
Louisville City vs. Nashville SC — Wednesday
Atlanta United vs. Chicago Fire — Wednesday
LAFC vs. Sacramento Republic — Wednesday