Martino: Moving on in Open Cup

We advanced in the U.S. Open Cup with a win Wednesday against the Syracuse Salty Dogs from the A-League. It was a tough game because we knew they were going to kind of bunker in a little bit and play for the tie as long as they could and try to see if anything would happen late.

They were a really tough, physical team. I definitely commend them for coming out and giving 100 percent effort and really being tough to play against. We found it difficult to get behind them.

Luckily, we caught a good break off a bounce, and Edson Buddle got the ball and had a brilliant finish to make it 1-0. They scored a little bit late, which was unfortunate. They got a lucky clearance that dropped to a guy right at the top of the box who put it in first-time, so we were a little bit worried about it being 1-1 so late. If it went into overtime, anything could have happened.

At the end of the game, I was dribbling and trying to get close to the box to get something dangerous, either a good shot or a pass or a foul, and I beat a couple of players and touched the ball to the side of another one, and he took me down in the box, which was a clear PK. Ross (Paule) stepped up and finished it, so we snuck out of there, which can typically happen against an A-League team.

Preparing for Syracuse wasn't easy. We had some video on one of the games the played. We watched it a little bit and looked at some of their key players and some of their tendencies. It's not as much preparation as we take for MLS teams, but enough to get an understanding of them. We were definitely prepared enough to face them.

As far as MLS play goes, we're definitely frustrated that we got two losses in a row. We promised ourselves that we wouldn't get two losses in a row for the rest of the season. We were going to try to - if we had a bad game and we got a bad result - rebound with at least a point. So we're a little bit frustrated, but the attitude is really positive around training and everyone is really looking forward to this weekend to get back on track, and we're excited to play a team like Chicago to prove that we can get back in the swing of things and really start rocking toward the end of the season.

I think that we've realized that we can play with anyone in the league. If we're playing our best, then we can get results. We just need to make sure that we bring it and figure out how to get on top of them early like we did in Chicago. I think that our forwards are an extreme handful. Jeff Cunningham's pace and the ability of the midfielders to join the attack is definitely going to be tough for Chicago to deal with. I think when we get into the final third, we're a tough team to play against. We just need to make sure that we get a lot of opportunities in there.

In other news, we had the Red, White and Boom! Fourth of July celebration last night. Everyone was really excited about that. I had some family come in and there was a party on a rooftop that we went to to see the fireworks and hang out and pound some waters and get ready for a win. It's a really fun occasion to spend time with family.

Also, I just bought a house that I'm getting ready to sell. A lot of guys on the team have been trying to get in the real estate business as a little side project. I just bought a house, so in a little while, everyone can come to me if they're looking to rent in Clintonville, Ohio. I'm dabbling in the real estate world, specifically older houses that have flowered wallpaper and that no one really wants to live in. I'm fixing them up and making them so people do want to live in them.

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