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My Open Cup Story: Fred

John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

Though a number of Philadelphia Union players have won U.S. Open Cup titles with their former teams, no one has a story quite like Fred's.

Fred's Open Cup title came in 2008, when he was a member of D.C. United. It was a tough year for DCU, who failed to make the playoffs after doing so in each of the previous five seasons, winning the Supporters' Shield twice. For United, much like the Union, the Open Cup Final was their only shot at glory.

DCU ran into the Charleston Battery in the Final as the two sides squared off in RFK Stadium. Then of second-division USL-1, the Battery were clear underdogs as they entered D.C. United's home. But for much of the game, it didn't play out that way.

DCU took an early lead when Emilio scored from 25 yards out in just the fourth minute, but Charleston hit back almost immediately. In the ninth minute, some combination play opened up space for Ian Fuller, now an Orlando City SC assistant, to have a rip from 18 yards. His near-post blast shocked United goalkeeper Louis Crayton and stunned the DC crowd.

Both sides pushed for a second. Charleston came close in the 20th minute, but an effort from 15 yards struck the post and skipped away. Meanwhile, the legendary Jaime Moreno set up chance after chance for his DCU teammates, but none could find the goal.

One of those teammates was Fred, who came on late in the first half. After Moreno scooped a ball into his path in the 45th minute, Fred's half-volley sailed over the net. But he soon erased that memory, as he found the winner five minutes into the second half.

In the 50th minute, Clyde Simms picked his head up and played a ball downfield. Thanks to a Rod Dyachenko dummy, Fred picked up the ball with two defenders in his wake and only the 'keeper to beat. He tucked it into the near post, winning D.C. their first Open Cup since 1996.

If a cup-winning goal weren't reason enough to feel happy, it came in Fred's return from injury.

"I was injured but I was getting healthy," Fred recounted. "I came off the bench and scored the winning goal. It was my first title in America, so it was very important to me."

The goal, he said, was one of the greatest moments of his soccer career, and he hopes that his teammates can experience that same euphoria he felt when he lifted the trophy.

"I tell them to just be happy and enjoy it," Fred said of the advice he's imparted on younger teammates. "You can win the first trophy for the Philadelphia Union."

For all of the Brotherly Game's coverage of the U.S. Open Cup Final, check out our massive storystream.