Part of the romance of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is that any team in America can win the tournament.
In the 100th edition, DC United proved that to be the case, winning more games in the tournament (4-0-1) than in 30 MLS games (3-21-6) this season. Lewis Neal scored the only goal of the match and Bill Hamid finished with four saves to hold on for the win.
Salt Lake held nearly 70-percent of the possession and outshot DC 19-6, but it was the visitors that would come out with the lone goal of the match, as Lewis Neal smashed a deflected ball past Nick Rimando just before halftime and DC staved off the advances of RSL to win its third Open Cup title in club history.
The title was also the fifth in the career of DC United defender James Riley. He won one Open Cup in 2007 with the New England Revolution, then three straight with Sounders FC from 2009-2011. Late in second-half stoppage time, Riley deflected a header from RSL forward Alvaro Saborio, redirecting it off the crossbar to stop the potential equalizer.
DC started off the tournament with a scoreless draw against the USL Pro’s Richmond Kickers, eventually winning on a penalty kick shootout. United went on to top the Philadelphia Union 3-1, the Revolution 3-1 and the Chicago Fire 2-0 to reach their fifth final in club history.
Real Salt Lake topped the Atlanta Silverbacks (NASL), Charleston Battery (USL Pro), Carolina Railhawks (NASL) and Portland Timber (MLS), before ultimately falling to DC United in the final.
The win qualifies DC United for the 2014-2015 CONCACAF Champions League tournament, starting in August of 2014.