It’s been a tale of two seasons for the Houston Dynamo. While the MLS regular season has been marred by a 10-game winless streak between July and early September, which has taken the Dynamo to the brink of playoff elimination, they also beat a quartet of probable Western Conference playoff teams — Real Salt Lake, FC Dallas, Sporting Kansas City and LAFC — en route to Wednesday night’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final.
Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET at BBVA Compass Stadium, and the Dynamo will face another likely playoff team in the Philadelphia Union.
A win Wednesday would give the Dynamo its first major trophy since the 2007 MLS Cup, adding to the city’s winning feeling that baseball counterpart and neighbor, the Houston Astros, brought by winning the 2017 World Series.
Dynamo coach Wilmer Cabrera and captain DaMarcus Beasley made the importance of the U.S. Open Cup final decidedly clear during a news conference Tuesday.
“There is no doubt that a final is a different game,” Cabrera said. “The ones that have been able to play finals or been in finals, we understand that concept, and we cannot describe how it is to play in a final. But the ones that haven’t, it is an important game, the most important game that you can play, and you don’t play finals every day. So that’s how important this is going to be for us – and also for the Philadelphia Union.”
Beasley added that a final brings a different mindset for a player.
“This isn’t like any other game,” he said. “This isn’t a game that’s three points. It isn’t a game that can be a draw. And there’s no tomorrow in this. Whatever you put into this game, is what you’re going to get out of it, because it’s one and done. You get one night … to prove that you’re the best team on that day. That’s it. That’s all you get.”
He said his message to his teammates was “to make sure you put everything you can in those 90 to 120 minutes to make sure that our team wins and we’re holding the Cup at the end of the night.”
Beasley said for him and players such as Boniek Garcia and Philippe Senderos — all on the tail ends of narrative-filled careers — the chance to win the U.S. Open Cup is particularly enticing.
“It means a lot to us,” Beasley asserted. “I mean, don’t get me wrong. It means a lot to everybody. But for us, it means more because we know what it takes throughout the year, throughout our whole career — how many finals you’ve ever been to, and you don’t get that many, you know, unless you play for, like, Barcelona or something. Then it’s a little bit different.”