The Union won’t be returning to the U.S. Open Cup semifinals.
One year after making a deep run in the 100-year-old knockout tournament pitting American teams from all levels, the Union’s quest for a 2013 Open Cup title was cut short following a 3-1 loss D.C. United at the Maryland SportsPlex on Wednesday night.
D.C. United, who have been abysmal in league play this season with a 1-10-3 record, rode a hat trick from perennial MLS All-Star Dwayne De Rosario into the Open Cup quarterfinals, while eliminating the Union for the second time in the last three years.
“I’ve known De Ro for a long time and he’s a fantastic player,” Union manager John Hackworth said. “There’s a reason he was the MVP of this league. He has that ability. We know they had a lot of dangerous players. Despite their start, they have a lot of weapons.
“We knew we had to contain guys like De Ro and [Chris] Pontius -- and for whatever reason, we didn’t do that. Although I kind of think we gifted De Ro a couple there.”
The Union certainly were giving out gifts Wednesday, especially on De Rosario’s third goal when he jumped on a misplayed touch from defender Jeff Parke and scored on an empty net from close to midfield.
That goal came after Jack McInerney continued his scoring barrage, pulling the Union within 2-1 on a feed from rookie Don Anding, who was making his debut with the club.
But after falling behind 2-0 and doing very little of note in the first half, the hole was too big to climb out of for the Union, even against the league’s worst team.
After the game, Hackworth repeatedly called his team’s start to the tournament game “unacceptable.”
“We knew they were going to come and bring it,” Hackworth said. “At the same time, I don’t think we brought our best, certainly not at the start of that game. We’ve got to know we’re not that good that we can do that.”
The Union are back in action with a friendly against affiliate Harrisburg next Tuesday. Their next league fixture isn’t until June 23 when they host the rival New York Red Bulls in a nationally-televised showdown at PPL Park.