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A Philadelphia Union blog hosted by Christopher A. Vito and Matthew De George

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Open Cup hangover: Why history is against the Union this weekend

History isn’t in the favor of the Philadelphia Union this week. If the Union want a win this weekend
Maurice Edu, left, Sebastien Le Toux and Zac MacMath won't be much happier
to see the trend of what Open Cup runners-up have done in their
returns to MLS play in recent years. (Times Staff/TOM KELLY IV
against the Houston Dynamo as they return to MLS play, they’ll have to overturn an unfavorable recent trend.

Not since 2007, a span of five U.S. Open Cup finals lost by MLS teams, has the loser of an Open Cup final won its next MLS game.

The last time that happened was in 2007, when FC Dallas lost at home to New England, 3-2, in the Open Cup final, then turned around and beat Columbus on the road three days later.

Open Cup runners-up over the last five years are 0-3-2 in MLS contests after the final. Take it back 10 all-MLS finals (excluding the 2008 title game between D.C. United and USL First Division side Charleston Battery), and the Open Cup hangover has produced a 3-5-2 record in games after teams’ finals stumbles.

All but one of those games came within four days of the Open Cup final (though even the eight-day respite afforded the 2011 Chicago Fire didn’t prevent them dropping a game at home to Dallas).

Conveniently, five of those 10 post-final collisions have been at home, as the Union are this weekend. But location matters little: Home teams are still only 2-2-1, slightly better than the 1-3-1 on the road.
Perhaps the cruelest result of the bunch was in 2005 when Dallas lost to the LA Galaxy, 1-0, in the Open Cup at the Home Depot Center … then lost to them three days later at the same venue, 2-1, in MLS play.

Below is the list of the last 11 Open Cup runners-up and the result of that team’s next MLS encounter. (Timing and location in parenthesis)

2013 Real Salt Lake draw with Dallas, 1-1 (4 days later; home)
Seattle loss to San Jose, 2-1 (3 days later; away)
2011 Chicago loss to Dallas, 2-1 (8 days later; home)
2010 Columbus loss to Chicago, 2-0 (3 days later, away)
2009 D.C. United draw at Dallas, 2-2 (3 days later, away)
2008 Charleston Battery
2007 Dallas win over Columbus, 3-1 (3 days later, away)
2006 LA Galaxy win over Chivas, 3-0 (3 days later, home)
2005 Dallas loss to LA Galaxy, 2-1 (3 days later, away)
2004 Chicago win over New England, 2-0 (3 days later home)
2003 MetroStars loss to New England, 2-1 (3 days later, home)

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