With cup final on schedule, D.C. United's season looking rosier

Finally, there are some smiles in the D.C. United locker room. Photo: Chicago Fire's Dilly Duka, left, battles with D.C. United's James Riley (Associated Press)

WASHINGTON, Aug. 8, 2013 — It has been an awful season for D.C. United. The club has won just three games in 22 league outings and sits in the basement of the Eastern Conference as the worst team in the league. But lo and behold, United finds itself in a cup final come Oct. 1, after beating the Chicago Fire on the road 2-0 on Wednesday in the U.S. Open Cup semifinal.

Yes, it is hard to believe, but United, which cannot string two wins in league play, has now won four straight games in the 100th edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. They beat the Richmond Kickers (PKs win), Philadelphia Union, New England Revolution, and the Chicago Fire to set up a date at Real Salt Lake with a chance to win its third U.S. Open Cup. And it is not only a trophy and a check for $250,000 awaiting the winner, but a spot in next year’s CONCACAF Champions League.

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United celebrates goal versus New England/AP

That means, a chance to play top international clubs from Central America and the possibility of advancing to the FIFA Club World Cup. Suddenly United’s season is looking a whole lot more rosier for its loyal fans. And we have not mentioned the recent news about plans to build a new stadium for the club in the District.

What looked liked a throwaway year for United, suddenly has a glimmer of hope.

There are very few trophies to win in soccer, just ask the mighty but trophyless New York Red Bulls, and few cup finals, but United now has a chance to win something after being an embarrassment on the field in league play.

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The club has not won a league game on the road this season so the victory at Chicago on Wednesday was impressive. If United can do it at Chicago, why not at Real Salt Lake?

United may end up as the worst team in league play this season, but if they can bring home the U.S. Open Cup, bettering the other 67 clubs that entered the knockout event, who cares?

John Haydon wrote a weekly soccer column for The Washington Times for 20 years. He has covered two World Cups and written about Major League Soccer from the league’s inception in 1996.

Follow John on Twitter at @Johnahaydon or email jhaydon@washingtontimes.com

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John Haydon

John Haydon has covered soccer for The Washington Times for two decades. He has reported on international soccer events in Germany, South Korea and Spain. John hails from Birmingham, England and has lived in the Washington D.C. region for over twenty years.  

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