Except for the formality that is the Third-Place matchup between LA Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes, my 2011 MLS Open Cup Tournament is complete.
In the tournament Championship match between Colorado Rapids and DC United, Dwayne DeRosario was amazing again, and netted the only goal, the game winner for the new Cup Champions, DC United.
DeRosario’s goal came in the 72nd minute, and it was the first ball that had found its way past Colorado’s keeper Matt Pickens since the 25th minute of the Colorado’s opening match versus the Red Bulls – an astounding 377 minutes of scoreless goalkeeping.
But as terrific as Pickens has been, he couldn’t stop Dwayne DeRosario. The tournament winning goal was DeRo’s 4th goal of the cup, to go along with 4 assists, which made him the clear winner of the first MLS Open Cup Most Valuable Player award.
With their top-four finishes, the Colorado Rapids and the San Jose Earthquakes have each avoided relegation from the MLS top flight league. Both clubs were members of my 2010 mini-season, but finished below the relegation line and needed to be one of the top three non-pre-qualified clubs in this tournament in order to get back into the top flight.
Columbus Crew was in the same boat, too, but didn’t qualify to return to the top flight. Instead, the Crew’s former spot now belongs to DC United.
This will be the 8 teams in my 2011 MLS Mini Season (7-game season with playoffs):
Real Salt Lake is coming off an undefeated, Championship season. We’ll see if they can do it again!