Three of tonight’s four semifinalists have reached this stage of the U.S. Open Cup before, and the debutant, Inter Miami CF, is the second club from the city to reach the semis in the Major League Soccer era of the tournament. So, how’d these teams do in their previous appearances in the semis? Let’s check it out.
2000 U.S. Open Cup: New York/New Jersey MetroStars 2-3 Miami Fusion
While this is Inter Miami CF’s first appearance in the U.S. Open Cup semis, the city has had an MLS team make it this far. In the 61st minute, two-time Brazilian MLS All-Star Welton scored to give the Miami Fusion a 2-1 lead. Two minutes later, his teammate Diego Serna added insurance to make it 3-1. A late MetroStars goal wouldn’t be enough as Miami won 3-2 and went to the finals. They eventually lost 2-1 to the Chicago Fire.
2006 U.S. Open Cup: LA Galaxy 3-1 Houston Dynamo
In the Houston Dnamo’s first semifinal appearance, Dwayne De Rosario scored in the 12th minute to equalize for the Dynamo. But Houston didn’t score again in a 3-1 loss to the Galaxy. Not reaching the U.S. Open Cup final may have been a bummer, but the 2006 Dynamo went on to win the first of their back-to-back MLS Cup titles. So they were alright.
2009 U.S. Open Cup: Seattle 2-1 Houston Dynamo (aet)
The Dynamo returned to the U.S. Open Cup semifinal only three years after their first appearance. And this time the club got out to a lead thanks to Ade Akinbiyi, who made it 1-0 in the 32nd minute. But Houston couldn’t put the match away, giving up the heartbreaking equalizer in the 89th minute and the game winner in the 94th minute to lose 2-1 to the eventual champion.
2013 U.S. Open Cup: Real Salt Lake 2-1 Portland Timbers
Things were going well for the Claret and Cobalt in 2013. The club would go on to finish second in the Western Conference and reach the MLS Cup finals before falling to Sporting KC. They were just as elite in the U.S. Open Cup. Prior to the semis, the team had scored three or more goals in each of its three matches. They only scored two in the semis, but it was enough to make it to the finals via a 2-1 win over Portland. They eventually lost in the finals to Sporting KC.
2015 U.S. Open Cup: Sporting KC 3-1 Real Salt Lake
Real Salt Lake was back in the semis two years later in a rematch of the 2013 MLS Cup final. The Claret and Cobalt opened the scoring thanks to an Olmes García goal in the 24th minute, but it was all Sporting KC the rest of the way as the club lost 3-1 to the eventual champions.
2017 U.S. Open Cup: FC Cincinnati 2-3 New York Red Bulls
FC Cincinnati is the only team in this year’s semifinals to have played previously in this round representing a different league. The then-USL Championship club were the darlings of the 2017 tournament, trying to become just the second non-MLS club since 2000 to reach the finals. They jumped out to a 2-0 lead at the half but the Red Bulls proved too much, scoring three unanswered goals to win 3-2.
2018 U.S. Open Cup: Houston Dynamo 3 (7-6) 3 Los Angeles Football Club
The Dynamo returned to the semifinals for the third time in club history and the second matchup against an LA-based team. In a thrilling back-and-forth affair, LAFC needed a goal in the fifth minute of stoppage time to equalize and force extra time. The match went on to penalties and the clubs needed eight rounds of penalty shots before Houston goalkeeper Joe Willis’ save sent Houston into the final. They eventually threashed the Philadelphia Union 3-0 to win the 2018 title.