Oscar Pareja’s Homegrown Heroes are set to meet a band of unlikely challengers from Foxborough tonight in North Texas. When it’s all done and dusted, one will hoist the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
The competition dates back to 1914, and is the oldest ongoing soccer championship in America.
New England Revolution are looking for their first trophy since conquering the USOC field in 2007. They did so, fittingly, against FC Dallas, who themselves scored their first and only major hardware in the same tournament ten years earlier.
“We have a model here that we work every morning to get prepared,” said Dallas boss Pareja, whose team owns the best record in MLS. “[B]ut at the end of the day, it's just fantastic for us [to have the opportunity] to give trophies to this franchise and club."
“It’s going to be fun,” said Revs striker Juan Agudelo. “We need to understand that when we look back at it, we’re not going to get opportunities like this [every year].”
New England appeared in the 2014 MLS Cup final, only to have their dreams dashed in extra time by Robbie Keane and the LA Galaxy.
This won’t be the first time these teams have met this year: back on May 21st, the Cowpokes ransacked the Revs four goals to two, boosted by a Tesho Akindele brace and a pair of dimes courtesy of Homegrown player and U.S. international Kellyn Acosta.
Count Acosta among those most jazzed up by the chance to score another victory over New England in front of the home fans.
“We've had goals since the beginning of the year to lift trophies,” he said. “We have a great opportunity tomorrow to do so and I know the guys are excited and motivated to go there.”
“For me personally, as a Homegrown player to lift up the trophy, I'd be very excited to do so.”
FC Dallas’s six active Homegrown guys — Acosta, Coy Craft, Jesse Gonzalez, Aaron Guillen, Victor Ulloa, and recent callup Paxton Pomykal — place them even with Los Angeles, New
York Jersey, and Vancouver for the most in the league.
For the Revs, a real sense of belief is finally setting in, and the timing couldn’t be better. Coming off a smashing win over NYCFC last weekend that has them just one point off the Eastern Conference playoff pace, Jay Heaps’s team rides into Frisco with the sense of swagger that eluded them throughout the summer.
“For us to be in this position right now is really, really good,” New England striker Kei Kamara told RevolutionSoccer.com. “We really have to be focused going out there, but we’ve got to go for it. It’s everything or nothing.”
Kamara, who is a likely game-time decision tonight due to a hip strain, and teammate Teal Bunbury lifted the 2012 Open Cup as members of Sporting Kansas City. Bunbury leads all players tonight with three goals in this year’s tournament.
So, will the surging New Englanders crash the party, or will FC Dallas take their first step toward a possible domestic treble?
It all goes down tonight. Where will you be?
- Winning the USOC may be more important than you think. (Jason Poon, Big D Soccer)
- Identifying the big storylines ahead of the big kickoff. (Charles Boehm, MLSSoccer.com)
- The federation has a treasure trove of relevant historical stats and figures. (USSoccer.com)
- Re-live each team’s rugged path to the famous final. (Carter Baum, FCDallas.com)
HOW TO WATCH
FC Dallas vs. New England Revolution
Final, 2016 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup
Tuesday, September 13th, 10:00pm ET
Toyota Stadium, Frisco, Texas
WATCH on ESPN2
STREAM on WatchESPN