FRISCO, Tex. — The last time FC Dallas won a trophy, it was the US Open Cup in 1997 – but that was before a familiar name was attached to the American tournament.
In 1999, it became the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, named after the former FC Dallas owner and father of current FC Dallas president Dan Hunt and Hunt Sports Group chairman Clark Hunt. And now FC Dallas has the opportunity to bring it back to the family's current team, in Tuesday's 2016 US Open Cup final at Toyota Stadium (10 pm ET, ESPN2, UDN | MLS LIVE in Canada).
“We’re honored that the prestigious championship bears the name of my father, Lamar,” Clark Hunt said before Monday’s press conference. “Having the trophy bear his name was one of the highlights of his storied career in soccer, and our family is excited to have the opportunity to host the final in Frisco.”
Added FC Dallas coach Oscar Pareja: “It’s an honor for us to participate in this final. It’s going to be great to have our fans here, to have this game that means that much to the club for all the reasons Clark described, and we’re excited. We can’t wait to be a part of this game, and we’re ready.”
The Hunt family has shaped the FC Dallas franchise for years, helping install the team’s academy as well as playing an integral role in bringing the National Soccer Hall of Fame to Frisco in the coming years.
Kellyn Acosta is one of many players to be produced from the FC Dallas academy, and knows just how much it would mean to bring the US Open Cup championship to the Hunts' MLS base.
“I know with Clark and Dan Hunt, they gave me the opportunity to be here, and Lamar, and this franchise,” Acosta said. “I think it’s a beautiful opportunity to go out there and reward them for all they’ve done for us, so I know we’re all excited and ready to do so.”
Would it be more meaningful to bring the trophy to FC Dallas' home? Pareja said there isn’t any added pressure.
“The competition isn’t going to create any other weight,” Pareja said. “But for the owner, just to give the city and franchise the trophy, that means a lot for the city, that means a lot for America, and the players know. We have this big opportunity. They earned the opportunity to be in this final out of 90-plus teams that competed in the competition, and we have the honor to do it. “
But for FC Dallas, regardless of whether the Hunt name is on the trophy, their goal has been the same since day one.
“At the end of the day, it would be fantastic to just give trophies to this franchise and club,” Pareja said, crediting the model the Hunt family has helped create. “This is the commitment that we have. This is what we work for.”