By IVES GALARCEP
It is hard to argue the fact that the 2013 MLS season has been a nightmare for D.C. United, but their dream run through the U.S. Open Cup has provided a much-needed consolation for the floundering club.
D.C. was expected to see that run end on Wednesday night at Toyota Park against a surging Chicago Fire side playing at home, but Ben Olsen’s side went away from the expected script yet again.
Goals from Dwayne DeRosario and Nick DeLeon, coupled with some strong defending, helped D.C. earn a 2-0 victory over the Fire to secure their place in the 2013 U.S. Open Cup Final. They will face Real Salt Lake in the final on Oct. 1st at Rio Tinto Stadium after RSL’s 2-1 victory over the Portland Timbers on Wednesday night.
The Fire-D.C. match was a back-and-forth affair, and looked to be a scoreless stalemate heading into halftime before a Sean Johnson blunder opened the door for D.C. A deflected DeLeon shot floated in the air to Johnson, who mishandled it in the penalty area. The ball fell to DeRosario, who quickly deposited the chance to make it 1-0.
Before the Fire could really mount a comeback, DeLeon made it 2-0 just three minutes into the second half, finishing off a pass from James Riley.
Chicago pushed hard to get back into the match, but never could break through the D.C. United defense, with Perry Kitchen providing a vital goal-line clearance on an Austin Berry chance in the 78th minute.
D.C. United goalkeeper Joe Willis makes six saves to record the shutout and book D.C. United’s fifth trip to the U.S. Open Cup Final, and first trip since 2009. D.C. United won the tournament in both 1996 and 2008.