The Black-and-Red face the Fort Lauderdale Strikers Wednesday night at 7:30 PM in the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup, the oldest cup competition in United States soccer. Beginning in 1914, the Open Cup gives teams from lower divisions of American soccer a chance to play against professional sides.
United are one of the most successful teams in the history of the competition, capturing the title three times and finishing as runners-up twice. United won the Open Cup in their first season MLS and just 10 days after winning the inaugural MLS Cup trophy in 1996, completing a “double” in their first season.
In the 1996 final at RFK Stadium, star United forward Jaime Moreno scored the third and final goal, sealing a 3-0 victory over the Rochester Raging Rhinos. Moreno, who is third all-time in MLS goals scored, is tied for second place for Open Cup goals in the modern era (since 1995) with 13.
Twelve years later, United raised the trophy for the second time at RFK Stadium, defeating the Charleston Battery 2-1 in the 2008 final. Both goals came from Brazilians, as Luciano Emilio opened the scoring early before Fred scored in the second half to seal the title. The next season, D.C. came close to becoming the first MLS team to win back-to-back Open Cup titles, progressing to the final for the second straight year but falling 2-1 to Seattle Sounders.
The Black-and-Red’s most recent triumph came in the tournament’s centennial edition in 2013. Dwayne de Rosario was a big contributor to the success, scoring 5 goals to finish as the tournament’s joint top scorer, including a hat trick in the fourth round against Philadelphia Union. United squared off against fellow MLS side Real Salt Lake in the final, and won 1-0 thanks to a goal from Lewis Neal.
United are looking to advance beyond the fourth round for the second consecutive year; the last time the Black-and-Red advanced farther than the fifth round was in 2013 when they won the tournament.