Major League Soccer's DC United is aiming to be the first team to win back-to-back U.S. Open Cup titles in more than two decades. We have a preview of the title match to be played Wednesday night at Washington's RFK Stadium.
The U.S. Open Cup is the oldest cup competition in U.S. soccer, dating back to 1914. It is open to all affiliated amateur and professional teams in the United States.
Since the inception of Major League Soccer in 1996, only one minor league team has won the U.S. Open Cup, and that was the Rochester Rhinos in 1999. DC United beat Rochester to win its first U.S. Open Cup in 1996 and last year it also beat a minor league club to win the Cup, the Charleston Battery.
But this time DC United faces a fellow-MLS club - the Seattle Sounders - for the title. This is the Sounders first season in MLS and they have been impressive both on the field and at the ticket gate. They have drawn some of the largest and loudest crowds and are in a playoff position with six regular season games left.
United played the Sounders to a 3-3 draw in Seattle earlier in the MLS season. United coach Tom Soehn told VOA Sports they are glad they are playing the U.S. Cup final in Washington.
"They're a dynamic team, but they're playing in our building this time, so it's a little bit harder to play when our home fans are giving them a little home cooking [cheering]," said Tom Soehn.
Soehn says adding another trophy to DC United's case is important.
"That's always something that the organization takes a lot of pride in, and as players and coaches, that's how you gauge your success, I think," he said. "So it's important - anytime we have a chance to play for a trophy - because everybody wants it, and only one team can do [win] it."
DC United has been the most successful league team, with four MLS Cup titles. With a win over Seattle, it will be the first MLS team to take consecutive U.S. Open Cups.