The Colombian striker bagged a brace in Wednesday's 2018 U.S. Open Cup final at BBVA Compass Stadium, leading La Naranja to a confident 3-0 victory over the Philadelphia Union and earning golden boot honors in this year's tournament with six goals.
Manotas dropped to his knees to head home the game's opener just minutes after the opening whistle, then struck again in the 25th minute with a fine solo effort marked by a firm finish into the lower left corner of the net.
An unfortunate second-half own goal by Union center back Auston Trusty rounded out the scoring and dashed any dwindling hopes of a late comeback by the visitors, who are now 0-3 in their three trips to the Open Cup's title bout (2014, 2015, 2018).
The victory provides both hardware and proof of concept for the Dynamo in a largely frustrating second season under coach Wilmer Cabrera, and qualifies them for the 2019 Concacaf Champions League.
- THE BIG PICTURE: Two factors proved crucial in the end — Houston's home-field advantage and their superior reserves of desperation, with this game the Orange's last chance to redeem a largely disappointing 2018 that will end without a trip to the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs. Philly, for their part, can and must now pivot towards the postseason.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: A moment of clutchness, quality and composure, Manotas' second goal confirmed that this would be his, and his team's, night:
- MAN OF THE MATCH: This one's as easy as they come. Mauro Manotas won his team their first major trophy since 2007 and pushed his overall 2018 scoring total to 20 goals across all competitions, the first player in Dynamo history to reach that mark in a calendar year.