Tuesday night, mere hours after the United States government shut down, DC became a winner once again. Maybe that was what it took for the once proud franchise to shake off a disastrous season and still come out with their 13th trophy in 17 years. A little bit of a reboot to the system never hurt anyone, and for Ben Olsen and crew, there's still a brilliant, bright memory to be had out of the 2013 season.
No one save for the sold-out crowd in Sandy Utah witnessed the match (aired on the "fabulous" GolTV, and I've never missed Fox Soccer so much) but those who were there saw Real Salt Lake own their possession like they do their wives (that's a polygamy joke). It was nearly 70% in favor of the home crowd, and it wasn't all in the midfield either. 19 shots and 10 corners United had to survive, requiring keeper Bill Hamid to have a career day. His four saves allowed a 45th minute rebound shot from Lewis Neal to sneak by Nick Rimando and hold up for the second half of the match.
This Open Cup win, the third in DC's history and first against an MLS club (the previous two were over the Rochester Rhinos and Charleston Battery) ties them with the inventors of the US Open Cup for second all-time among MLS clubs and tied for seventh overall. They get some hefty prize money and an automatic berth into next year's Champion's League. For those of you hoping to see Salt Lake win for the extra CONCACAF spot in the MLS playoffs, well... Time to start praying to a higher soccer god. Like the one that answered Olsen's prayers: no way DC fires him now. If they do, they're misguided. Every manager has a rough year, and his darkest hour still brought in a major trophy. While his involvement in the game winner was strictly ancillary, James Riley still found his name trending on Seattle twitter after the win.
While the loss kills Salt Lake's hopes of taking the treble, they've still got plenty more to play for. Notably the Supporter's Shield and that other big one... MLB Cup? MMA Cup? Now there's a few pieces of silverware the Rave Green still have some say-so about. For a team that was supposedly in a "rebuild year", what Salt Lake has already accomplished is remarkable. They better hold onto Jason Kreis if they want it to continue.
With "nothing else" going on in the US soccer world today, Indy Eleven thought it'd be a good time to reveal their new jersey sponsor and kits for their inaugural 2014 season. In getting Honda, Indy has a better name on their chest than the majority of MLS teams. Fitting too, considering the whole club appears to be geared around the Indianapolis 500 (including the checkered-flag shirts). If Indy ever does find itself playing DC United, we'll have a great car rivalry on our hands. Germany vs Japan. MAKE IT HAPPEN, Open Cup Bracket-Makers.
Something that will always get the US soccer media in a tizzy is hearing a fanbase sing the national anthem. Every time it happens, like magic, the tweets come pouring in. So too a microphone issue cut out the scheduled singer, forcing the drunken masses of the Cauldron to finish it off. Call me crazy, but I like the Canadian anthem better.
We may have names of some of David Beckham's co-investors in the rumored MLS Miami project, names which include the primary owner of the NFL's Miami Dolphins.
Someone called the Columbus Crew dead in the water a few weeks ago on the MLS Gamethread. That guy was incompetent. It's still a tough road ahead for the Crew, but a playoff spot has driven up to the corner and opened its door, blaring "Baby Come Back" on the speakers.
Three games remain in the 2013 Cascadia Cup, and the Sounders have a decided advantage. Portland and Vancouver play this weekend, which will narrow the possible outcomes. Should the game end in a draw, Seattle would only need to get their own point against Vancouver to bring the trophy back to the Puget Sound. If Portland wins, they could still keep the thing to themselves. Regardless, It's up to the Sounders to take care of business Wednesday. Jay DeMerit will likely play a factor in both remaining Caps games, and should be playing for a contract.
We wrote about former Sounder Bryan Meredith returning to the states to play backup for the New York Cosmos. However, his "better half" has been kind of awful. As such, Meredith may find his name in the starting lineup sooner rather than later.
The Seattle Times is giving everyone a chance to chat with top MLS rookie DeAndre Yedlin today at noon. Perfectly good reason to call in sick or forget about homework assignments. I may try to chime in from class. (Just kidding, generous parents and concerned former teachers, I would never do such a thing and you can't prove otherwise). Speaking of young Sounders, Jordan Morris made the Top Drawer Team of the Week with his Stanford brace.
There are only 17 days left to vote for Sounder at Heart as the Best Sports Blog in Western Washington, and we're beating out Hawkblogger by just a handful of votes. If you loves us, and I mean REALLY lovez us, show us your love with something that will last forever: a vote on an internet poll.