Open Cup: FC Dallas chase for the treble begins

FC Dallas won the U.S. Open Cup in 1997, its second year in MLS, but waited 19 years for its second trophy. It got three goals and four assists from Argentines Maxi Urruti and Mauro Diaz to defeat the New England Revolution, 4-2, in the final of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup now named after its late owner. Here are three takeaways from the historic victory before a sellout crowd of 16,612, the largest crowd of the season at Toyota Stadium.

1. Diaz ranks among MLS's best.

There are other more high-profile players who are MLS MVP candidates -- Sebastian Giovinco at Toronto FC, Giovani dos Santos at the LA Galaxy, Diego Valeri at Portland, Sacha Kljestan at the Red Bulls -- but you can make a strong case for Diaz.

The Argentine got FC Dallas back into Tuesday's final after Juan Agudelo's early goal with assists on Urruti's first goal and Matt Hedges' go-ahead goal. He scored the killer third goal from the penalty deep in stoppage time and assisted on Urruti's second goal to make it 4-1 in the 61st minute.

"It is a collection of what he has done this year," said FC Dallas coach Oscar Pareja. "He showed the heart of his club and the heart of his teammates tonight. They all wanted to win."

Diaz has never played more than 24 regular-season games in his first three MLS seasons, but he has already played 23 games in 2016, scoring five goals and leading FC Dallas with 11 assists. In a league loaded with great Argentine playmakers, Diaz, still only 25, now stands out as one of the best.

2. Pareja plays his cards perfectly.

Getting out to a lead in the MLS race allowed Pareja to rest players like Diaz and Urruti, who did not start on Saturday against the Colorado Rapids, and keep them fresh for the Open Cup. Pareja also made Diaz and Urruti available for FC Dallas' Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League opener.

FC Dallas is perhaps best known for its development of Homegrown players -- Kellyn Acosta started and Victor Ulloa came off the bench -- but it has more success than just about any MLS club with the purchase of young foreigner players like Fabian Castillo (sold to Trabzonspor in August), Carlos Gruezo, who started in midfield with Acosta, and Diaz.

FC Dallas has also excelled in using the offseason to fill holes and add depth with the pickup of veterans like Honduran Maynor Figueroa (trade with Colorado), Argentine Mauro Rosales (trade with Colorado) and Urruti (MLS Re-Entry Draft from Portland).

3. The race for the treble is on.

The Open Cup is the first of a treble of trophies FC Dallas could win in 2016. Even with the 1-0 loss to the Rapids on Saturday, FC Dallas leads the Supporters' Shield race by four points.

Only two other teams -- Chicago Fire in 2003 and Seattle Sounders in 2014 -- have won the Open Cup-Supporters' Shield double, and no team has won those two trophies along with MLS Cup.

FC Dallas is also still alive in the 2016-17 Concacaf Champions League and qualified for the 2017-18 edition with the Open Cup win.

Sept. 13 in Frisco, Texas
FC Dallas 4 New England Revolution 2.
NE: Juan Agudelo (Gershon Koffie) 6
DAL: Maxi Urruti (Mauro Diaz) 15
DAL: Matt Hedges (Mauro Diaz) 40
DAL: Mauro Diaz pen. 45+7
DAL: Maxi Urruti (Mauro Diaz)  61
NE: Juan Agudelo (Teal Bunbury) 73
FC Dallas -- Seitz; Hollingshead, Zimmerman, Hedges, Figueroa; Rosales (Akindele, 58), Acosta, Diaz, Gruezo, Barrios (Ulloa, 82); Urruti (David, 90+1)
New England Revolution -- Knighton; Farrell, Woodberry, Gonçalves, Watson (Tierney, 45+3); Caldwell, Koffie (Kamara, 42), Rowe (Bunbury, 69), Fagundez; Agudelo, Nguyen.
Att.: 16,612.
1 comment about "Open Cup: FC Dallas chase for the treble begins".
  1. Margaret Manning, September 14, 2016 at 2:30 p.m.

    Congratulation to FC Dallas.

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