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Opposite View: Three Questions with Big D Soccer - US Open Cup Edition

I thought Tony Toro was a Red Bull fan?
I thought Tony Toro was a Red Bull fan?
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
tBG) How important is lifting the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup Trophy to FC Dallas and their fans?

BDS) It is immensely important to the club and its fans. As you are well aware, the Hunt Sports Group was created by Lamar Hunt, and it was his dream to bring world class soccer to North Texas. His sons and the Hunt family is eager to see FC Dallas recapture the trophy which bares his name. There was serious effort put into the 100th edition of the USOC last year, but the team fell flat in the tournament within a dry spell far outlasting that cup run. This year, we have a new coach and a few new players who are just as eager to land some silverware. Many of the fans will remember the US Open Cup victory in 1997... and the losses in 2005 and 2007. FC Dallas is one of the oldest teams in MLS, so 1997 seems like forever ago. It's about time one of MLS's founding clubs get to raise another trophy.

tBG) Dallas was the last team to beat the Philadelphia Union (other than a 1-0 loss to Crystal Palace in a friendly). How has FCD changed since July 4th? 

BDS) The changes have been subtle but they have all been for the better. Mauro Diaz is back from injury suffered this spring. Fabian Castillo will be in the lineup; he was suspended back on July 4th. Tesho Akindele and Blas Perez have been clicking up top to become a very dangerous forward duo. They only seem to be getting better as the season progresses. FCD was bouncing back from a winless slump toward the beginning of summer- since that time, the team has only reinforced, week in and week out, that it will be a contender. FC Dallas still has not been beaten; the last loss was against San Jose on May 31.

tBG) Dallas has been to the Cup Final three times before, winning it in 1997 and losing in 2005 and 2007. Will that experience carry over to this club, or is it too far removed?

There is only one direct participant from any of those final appearances, but I suspect we will see those runs impact the current team in little ways. Oscar Pareja didn't join FCD as a player until 1998, so he missed the 1997 win. He was, however, an assistant coach for the 2005 team (but he may have missed 2007 when he was at IMG). Oscar will understand what it was like to lose the Cup Final and hopefully has applied those lessons to the 2014 run.

No FC Dallas player on the roster today was around in 2007. George John and Jair Benitez are the longest tenured players on the team, both joining in 2009. However, there are a few that went to Toronto in 2010 for the MLS Cup Final. Those guys will remember what it was like to be in the final and go home empty handed, and I believe they won't want to repeat it. FC Dallas has the best path of the 4 remaining teams because they are guaranteed home field advantage for both the semi and the final, should they advance. I think FC Dallas, from the Front Office to the interns, will put everything they have into this tournament.

Projected lineup: Raul Fernandez; Zach Loyd, Matt Hedges, Stephen Keel, Je-Vaughn Watson; Victor Ulloa, Adam Moffat, Andrés Escobar, Mauro Diaz; Fabian Castillo, Blas Perez

Projected score: Dallas 2-1 Philadelphia