FC Dallas conquer tricky US Open Cup run to grab coveted spot in final

CARSON, Calif. -- FC Dallas will have a chance to lift their first major trophy in 19 years, following a dramatic two-goal comeback late in their 2016 U.S. Open Cup semifinal against the LA Galaxy.

Matt Hedges and Victor Ulloa each scored headers off Mauro Diaz corner kicks in the final minutes of the 30-minute extra time period, to reverse the result and set up an Open Cup final at home against the New England Revolution.

Following Wednesday’s last gasp 2-1 victory, the players and coaching staff feel that this is a FC Dallas side fully deserving of bringing silverware to the club. 

“We have that mentality that we need to win a championship for this team,” said the match winner Ulloa. “We have a great opportunity now ahead of us in a month, at home, in front of our fans that deserve it.”

 “It’s definitely huge. It’s just a proud moment for all of us,” said Kellyn Acosta, who like Ulloa, is an FC Dallas Homegrown player

While this victory will likely go down in team lore, FC Dallas had already gone through the fires of penalties in the fourth round against OKC Energy, before needing another 120 minutes in a come-from-behind victory over the Colorado Rapids in the next round, and then beating Texas rivals Houston Dynamo with another late stoppage-time goal in the quarterfinal round.  

“The first couple of games we played 120 minutes and then here we played another 120 minutes. The perseverance of this team,” Acosta continued, “I mean, we are just ready to hold up a trophy. I know Oscar [Pareja] is excited and we just need to bring it on home.”

The head coach echoed his players' sentiments. 

“It means a lot for the franchise.," Pareja said. "We’re going one step at a time. Today we are one step closer and obviously we have a good rival in front of us [New England], but tonight’s game shows a lot. We’re going to continue with this journey and winning trophies for our club is obviously huge this year. We want to get some silverware at home.” 

Pareja also praised his staff, saying they spent many hours last week on the training ground working on set pieces, which ultimately turned the game. 

“Our coaching staff did an excellent job working these guys out during the week on set plays,” Pareja told the media in his postgame press conference. “We had faith that tonight’s game could be the result of set plays. We spent a lot of time this week [on set plays]." 

Ulloa knew that his moment might come from a set piece and in the end was able to tuck his header in-between Galaxy defender Ashley Cole and the post on what was virtually the last play of the game. 

“We talked about the game, even beforehand, about set pieces and how they were going to be key and how we need to take advantage of them,” Ulloa said. “Mauro [Diaz] served two great balls and Matt [Hedges] and I got on the end of them."