Hoops seek Open Cup vindication

Tues., July 1, Pizza Hut Park, Frisco, Texas, 7:30 p.m. CT

U.S. Open Cup finalist a year ago, FC Dallas begins their drive to return to the championship game when they play host to Miami FC, who have made their furthest advance ever in the competition.

FC DALLAS IN THE OPEN CUP: FC Dallas reached the final of the U.S. Open Cup for the third time in club history a year ago, but weren't able to add to their 1997 victory on penalty kicks against D.C. United. ... FCD also reached the final in 2005, but lost 1-0 to the Los Angeles Galaxy at The Home Depot Center. ... Throughout the club's history, Dallas has been full-value campaigners in the Open Cup, failing to reach at least the quarterfinals on just two occasions - in 2001 and 2003. ... On both occasions they lost to lower-division opposition, to Seattle Sounders Select (PDL) in 2001 and Wilmington Hammerheads (PSL) in 2003. ... The then-Dallas Burn also lost to the Rochester Raging Rhinos in the 1999 quarterfinals, in extra time.

LAST YEAR: A year ago, FC Dallas lost 3-2 at home to the New England Revolution in the Open Cup Final. Pat Noonan (21) and Arturo Alvarez (30) traded goals before Taylor Twellman put New England ahead to stay. Wells Thompson (57) scored the third before Abe Thompson hit in the 64th minute, but FC Dallas could get no closer. ... In the semifinals, FC Dallas defeated the Seattle Sounders (USL1) 2-1 in extra time at Qwest Field in Seattle. Carlos Ruiz broke the deadlock when he turned home a cross in the first minute of extra time, then in the 119th minute, Abe Thompson converted a penalty kick. A stoppage-time goal from Leighton O'Brien brought a few tense moments, but the Hoops held out. ... FC Dallas claimed a tense 2-1 victory in extra time against the Charleston Battery at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston, S.C. in the quarterfinals. A wonder goal from one-time MLS veteran Stephen Armstrong gave the home side a 17th-minute lead, but Clarence Goodson headed home a corner kick (23), then five minutes into the extra period, Arturo Alvarez lashed home the winner. ... FC Dallas survived a penalty kick shootout for the second consecutive season in their opening match in the competition, playing to a 1-1 draw with the Atlanta Silverbacks over 120 minutes before advancing 4-3 over six rounds in a shootout. Carlos Ruiz scored in the 74th minute before Dan Antoniuk equalized four minutes later; three minutes later he was then sent off.

IN THE OPEN CUP: This is the farthest Miami FC have ever advanced in the Open Cup, winning a game in the competition for the first time this season. ... In their inaugural season of 2006, the Blues lost 1-0 in a shock result to amateur side Dallas Roma in the second round. ... A year ago, they were bounced out by the El Paso Patriots (PDL) in a penalty shootout after a 2-2 draw through 120 minutes.

THIS YEAR: Miami FC were forced to overcome a red card to defeat PDL side Bradenton Academics to finally win a first round game. Zak Boggs gave Bradenton the lead in the 18th minute, but Sean Cameron leveled six minutes later. An own goal pushed Bradenton back into the lead just after the break, but a Leo Inacio 58th-minute evened matters once again. Cristiano Dias was sent off in the 69th minute, but Alex Afonso scored twice to send Miami FC through. ... In the second round, Miami knocked off fellow USL-1 side Atlanta Silverbacks 1-0 as Josh Saunders' shutout at home was complemented by a 40th minute goal from Afonso.

FORM GUIDE: Miami FC sits tied for seventh in the USL First Division with 16 points from 16 matches, eight points behind the league-leading Charleston Battery though they've played three more games. ... The Blues are coming off a 1-1 draw away to the Vancouver Whitecaps on June 22, their second consecutive draw. ... Alex Afonso leads the USL First Division with seven goals, tied with Randi Patterson of the Charleston Battery.

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