Kick Off: Real Salt Lake left to rue missed chances in US Open Cup final

Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today...

1. D.C. PULL OFF SHOCK WIN

D.C. United pulled off a huge US Open Cup upset on Tuesday night by beating Real Salt Lake 1-0 (watch highlights here) at Rio Tinto stadium, giving D.C. their third USOC title in franchise history. Strangely enough, United won more matches in the tournament (five) than they have during the regular season (three), but they were justly rewarded for their singular focus when it mattered on Tuesday.

2. OPEN CUP REACTION

Bill Hamid, D.C. United’s 22-year-old goalkeeper, kept a clean sheet last night that went a long way towards helping his team win the trophy. For someone who grew up as a fan of the team, it was an extra special night. For Real Salt Lake, another final at home and another defeat presents a worrying pattern. What three things can we take away from the final? Armchair Analyst Matthew Doyle takes a look. And take a look back at MLSsoccer.com's postgame show.

3. IMPROVING THE CUP

As the dust starts to settle on the 100th US Open Cup final, here’s to another 100. However, let’s all agree it could do with some improvements. Everyone having the option to easily watch the final on TV would be a good start, but what would you change?

4. IDENTITY KREIS-IS

Despite Tuesday night’s painful defeat, there is still no denying that Jason Kreis is one of the best managers in MLS. In part two of Brian Strauss' interview with the RSL coach from March at SI.com, the two discuss developing Real Salt Lake's playing style and how the team has progressed in the three years without a trophy, a spell that will continue a little longer now.

5. US CALL-UPS

Jurgen Klinsmann was at Rio Tinto on Tuesday night to watch the Open Cup final and check on a couple of players as well. He gave a press conference before the match and dropped some information on who may or may not be involved in upcoming US games. Will the fact that MLS is racing towards the playoffs affect who the USMNT coach calls on? Not in the slightest.

6. MIKE PETKE, MAN OF THE PEOPLE

With the Red Bulls trying to pull away in the Eastern Conference, is there an argument to be made for Mike Petke as Coach of the Year? Petke doesn’t even want to think about it: “The only people I would want to think I’m Coach of the Year-worthy are my players.” So, just how grounded is Petke? Seeing Red, the New York-based soccer podcast, produced their 150th show last night. Guess who phoned in to win a T-shirt.

7.  TIME TICKING FOR VANCOUVER

With a grand total of four points between them and fifth place, the Vancouver Whitecaps are by no means out of the playoff race. And defender Jay DeMerit believes the club needs to finally show some consistency. If the Whitecaps fail to bounce back from another season’s second-half slump, is the clock ticking for Martin Rennie? Meanwhile, over in Toronto, the club finds itself having to defend the way it uses Canadian players.

8. MAGEE A MARKED MAN

While Mike Magee missed a penalty during Saturday’s game against the Montreal Impact, he did score two goals which was enough to see him top the Castrol Index for the week. As Magee’s stock continues to rise, he is getting used to being a marked man, with the MVP candidate noting, “That’s how it’s going to be.”

9. FIRE TV

Time Warner Cable has partnered with the Chicago Fire to become “the Wisconsin television home of the Chicago Fire.” The deal means TWC will show the Fire's four remaining fixtures this season and all non-nationally televised games next year in the Badger State. Sticking with TV, The Seattle Sounders' game against the New York Red Bulls drew ESPN’s third-highest viewing figures for an MLS match this season, which compared favorably with NBC’s EPL offerings from the weekend.

10. LIFE IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP

Danny Williams may have gotten off to a slow start after arriving in the English Championship from the German Bundesliga, but the Reading midfielder is slowly starting to find his feet. Will a good season in the English second tier be enough to work his way into the USMNT's World Cup squad?

11. ORLANDO KEEP CHUGGING

Orlando City took another big step toward MLS yesterday, hiring a chief financial officer to help oversee the club's business and, potentially, a transition to MLS. The city is also doing its part. With the two remaining properties located on the site designated for the new stadium both unwilling to sell, the city is ready to call eminent domain and force them out.

12. BECKHAM HAS COMPETITION IN MIAMI

The Miami Herald is reporting that for all that talk about David Beckham and a potential MLS franchise in South Florida, there could be a worthy, rival suitor standing in the way. Here's the news that a group backed by an Italian financier is also thinking about making its move.

13. MORE FROM THE LOWER LEAGUES

Following a great recent interview on MLS Reserves' Off the Bench podcast, Philly.com offers up an in-depth interview with USL president Tim Holt. It covers a lot of the same ground but is still well worth a read. And over in the NASL, expansion team Indy Eleven pulled off one heck of a coup by securing a sponsorship deal with Japanese car giants Honda.

14. PLAYOFF HISTORY

The MLS playoffs are getting ever closer. But how did we arrive at the current format for the knockout round? Let’s take a brief journey through history.

15. SWEDEN'S SOCCERZ GOT SINGING

Can you imagine this scenario? You're a head coach and not only has one of your players gone and entered a TV talent contest, the network running that contest also runs your league decides to rearrange your fixtures to avoid a clash. Ladies and ents, I give you Sweden!

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