FC Dallas have completed step one of their quest for "the treble" – and ended a 19-year trophy drought in the process.
Paced by a dominant display from playmaker Mauro Diaz, the North Texas side bested the New England Revolution 4-2 at a sold-out Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas on Tuesday evening, capturing the club’s second Lamar Hunt US Open Cup trophy.
The victory also serves as revenge for the 2007 Open Cup final, when the Revolution defeated Dallas 3-2, a match also played in Frisco.
Revs striker Juan Agudelo set the tone for a high-paced, high-intensity first half. The US international took an early chance in the 6th minute, muscling his way through the Dallas defense and striking a brilliant goal past Dallas goalkeeper Chris Seitz.
The Revolution’s lead did not last long, thanks to a brilliant piece of skill from Maximiliano Urruti. The Argentine's lovely first touch of a Diaz cross afforded him just enough space in the Revs penalty box to smash a game-tying effort past Brad Knighton.
Dallas continued as the aggressors for the remainder of the half, and took a lead into the locker when Matt Hedges finished a wide-open header served by Diaz in the 40th minute after New England could not fully clear a Dallas corner.
Hedges then helped double the lead, drawing a penalty in stoppage time. Diaz placed the spot kick into the lower right corner of the net for a 3-1 halftime advantage. Meanwhile, New England coach Jay Heaps was forced to make two first-half injury subs, replacing Gershon Koffie for Kei Kamara in the 42nd minute and Chris Tierney for Je-Vaughn Watson in first half stoppage time.
Agudelo nearly brought the Revs back into the proceedings in the 54th minute, just barely missing out on a crafty cross from Tierney. Urruti punished the miss mere minutes later, burying his second goal of the match in the 61st minute, compliments of a third Diaz helper.
The Revolution refused to quit, as Agudelo breathed new life into the visitors in the 73rd minute with his second tally. His efforts would be for naught, though, with Dallas locking down their defense, tightening their lines and snuffing out any remaining threatening New England attacks.
FCD can celebrate a historic victory for their club, but will soldier on in pursuit of Supporters' Shield, MLS Cup and CONCACAF Champions League glory as they try to complete a truly unique achievement.
- 6’ – NE – Juan Agudelo (Gershon Koffie)
- 15’ – DAL -- Maximiliano Urruti (Mauro Diaz)
- 40’ – DAL – Matt Hedges (Mauro Diaz)
- 48’ – DAL -- Mauro Diaz (PK)
- 61’ – DAL -- Maximiliano Urruti (Mauro Diaz)
- 73’ – NE -- Juan Agudelo (Teal Bunbury)
- Full boxscore
- Watch highlights
1. DIAZ SLICES AND DICES: The name Mauro Diaz is becoming synonymous with danger, and once again “The Little Unicorn” showed why he strikes terror in the heart of opposing defenses when the ball is at his feet with even the slightest amount of time and space. Diaz opened up the New England defense on numerous occasions on Tuesday night, lifting the trophy after bagging a goal and three assists.
2. AGUDELO’S FORM: Juan Agudelo has been in excellent form recently and is a big reason why New England are still hanging around in the Eastern Conference playoff hunt. His first goal was the result of phenomenal strength, technique and grit and his second showed the desire to continue fighting despite a three-goal deficit. It will be difficult for the Revolution to find solace in yet another crushing loss in a final. But if they can take anything from this heartbreak, it’s that they might well be able to ride their resurgent striker into the Audi 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs.
3. CAN DALLAS REALLY GRAB A TREBLE? The short answer is yes, particularly after Tuesday's dominant display, in which many of their best players showed up in spades. Currently, they sit in pole position in the Supporters’ Shield race with 51 points on 29 games played. Their road will be extremely challenging, as there are always surprises in the playoffs. That said, if there ever is a side ready for a quest as daunting as this, Oscar Pareja & Co. surely fit that bill.