D.C. United -- yes, the same terrible D.C. United that has burned your eyes all MLS season -- are the U.S. Open Cup champions and it is all thanks to Lewis Neal. The little-used midfielder, and former Real Salt Lake trialist, scored the winner for D.C. just before halftime and the team made in stand up in Salt Lake, where United salvaged their season with their third U.S. Open Cup trophy.
Neal's goal wasn't exactly pretty, with Dwayne De Rosario's cross deflecting into the Englishman's path for him to slot past Nick Rimando, but D.C. could care less. That 45th minute goal delivered them a trophy and sank the hearts of the Rio Tinto Stadium faithful.
As expected, RSL dominated most of the match, but they couldn't turn their possession into good chances. Their 69 percent possession yielded 18 shots, but few of them exceptional looks at goal. Many of their attempts at goal came from distance and they failed to turn most of their 10 corner kicks into anything D.C. had to worry about.
On the few occasions RSL did pressure the D.C. defense, misfortune or Bill Hamid intervened. They hit the bar twice, including in the waning minutes, and Hamid made four tremendous saves to preserve the D.C. lead.
When the final whistle went, a season's worth of frustration turned to unbridled joy for D.C. Coaches jumped and hugged while players mobbed each other on the field as they earned one thing worth celebrating in 2013: the U.S. Open Cup title.