Dallas Soccer DFW

FC Dallas errors give New England US Open Cup

Published 10/4/2007 7:22:01 AM by staff from mlsnet

For the second time in three years, FC Dallas reached the US Open Cup Final. But for the second time in three years, they've found themselves on the losing end, putting up a valiant effort before finally falling short as the New England Revolution claimed their first honor in club history.

"We're very disappointed," said FCD head coach Steve Morrow. "It's a big game and nobody likes to lose in a final. All the boys are very, very disappointed in there right now. Having said that, I think we put up a great fight. I'm proud of the boys for the effort they put into the game."

New England took an early 1-0 lead after a 21st-minute tally by Pat Noonan but FCD's Arturo Alvarez drew the match level with a goal of his own in the 30th. The Revs scored the next two -- Taylor Twellman in the 41st and Wells Thompson in the 57th before FCD closed the gap to 3-2 through an Abe Thompson score in the 64th minute. But in the end, the Hoops ran out of time.

"Obviously, we're disappointed," Adrian Serioux said. "Unfortunately, in certain situations when you go down a certain number of goals, it's tough to come back. We got ourselves in a hole, tried to work out of it but just couldn't get it to fall our way."

At least in Morrow's eyes, the deciding factor in the loss were the preventable goals surrendered by his side.

"We shot ourselves in the foot again by giving up some soft goals and we clearly need to stop that," he said. "I think this team has come a long way in six or seven months and we've still got a little bit to do. We've made one final already and that was a big achievement. We intend to make another one this year."

Another factor was the level of experience the Revolution have obtained in big games, having previously played in three MLS Cup Finals -- including the last two -- and one Open Cup Final, with most of their core intact.

"They're an experienced team and have played in a bunch of finals with the same group of players," Morrow said. "They have been here a few more times than us. It's a good experience for us. We had a lot of young guys and I want them to learn from the experience and definitely get better from it. It's part of our goal to play in championship games and finals. We want to be in the habit of being in finals year after year."

A major development for the Hoops occurred before kickoff when Morrow left Denilson off the 18-man game roster. The World Cup-winning Brazilian was in attendance for the game but wasn't involved. Speculation was already rampant that FCD's designated player had played his last game for the Hoops but Morrow did answer in the affirmative when asked whether Denilson could help him again this season.

"Yes, he was here," Morrow said of Denilson. "We can only have five foreigners out there (per U.S. Open Cup rules) and I picked the five that I thought could win us the game."

FCD was beset by injuries early in the second half. Starting midfielder Pablo Ricchetti suffered a strained groin and was replaced by Alex Yi to start the second half. In the 63rd minute, Thompson came on for Yi after the Hoops center back suffered a concussion and had to be helped off the field.

"Unfortunately, Pablo (Ricchetti) got a groin strain and tried to play on as long as he could," Morrow said. "He was limping around and couldn't go on. These things have happened to us this year, losing key players at big moments. It affected the rhythm of our play taking the guy in the middle of the field responsible for possession and it left some holes for us."

One bright spot was Thompson's goal, which came less than a minute after he entered the game in the 63rd minute.

"I definitely couldn't have planned that any better," he said. "That's what you look to do in that situation when you're down in a big game, you want to have a big, immediate impact to create a spark. I was able to do that."

After Thompson's goal cut the Revs' lead to just 3-2, FCD forward Dominic Oduro looked to have drawn the match level again in the 80th minute but his tally was waved off after he was deemed to be offside.

"I really don't think that I was offside," Oduro said. "I don't know why the ref made that call but there's nothing that I can do. I thought I was good but maybe he saw something that I didn't see."

FCD got an emotional lift when in the 76th minute, Dallas native Kenny Cooper entered the match. It was his first action since breaking his right tibia on June 9. All told, he had missed 18 games in all competitions.

"I thought he did well," Morrow said about Cooper's performance. "He was desperate to get minutes tonight. I was hoping he was going to give us a little bit of a fairy tale ending by throwing him on for the last 10-15 minutes. He threw himself around and it will take him a little while to get back to his best. But I was really pleased to see him back out on the field."

The Hoops boss admits he had a ceiling as to a maximum number of minutes Cooper could play. "I didn't want to push Kenny into too many minutes," Morrow said. "It was his first time getting into the game. I didn't want to push him any more than 30-45 minutes."

FCD has now surrendered 18 goals in their last eight games, a trend that clearly needs to be reversed.

"It's disappointing because a lot of the pressure is on the defense right now," Serioux said. "The other teams are having the ball fall their way right now and that's unfortunate for us. We want to turn things around in the next few games heading into the playoffs and hopefully, things will go our way."

Thompson was one of a number of current FCD players who also played in the 2005 Open Cup final, which the Hoops lost 1-0 to the LA Galaxy. But he admits this loss is a bit tougher to swallow.

"This one hurts a little bit more because it was in front of our own fans," he said. "I feel like we played better in this game than we did in 2005. We were pressing for the equalizer and time just ran out for us."

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