D.C. United captured its third U.S. Open Cup championship with a 1-0 victory over Real Salt Lake on Tuesday, providing a rare bright spot in an otherwise dismal Major League Soccer season for the club.
Lewis Neal collected a loose ball in the box and slotted it inside the right post past a diving Nick Rimando in the 45th minute.
D.C. United is winless on the road in MLS this season and has the league's worst record with only three victories and 15 points.
Regardless, the club secured a spot in the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League with the victory.
''Now we know,'' United goalkeeper Bill Hamid said. ''We have that belief. We have that faith in ourselves that we can go and get a result anywhere we want. As long as you believe, and continue that mentality, you can do it.''
Real Salt Lake, which leads the Western Conference in the MLS standings, had been trying to win the Cup for the first time.
Salt Lake put relentless pressure on D.C. in the second half, firing numerous shots on goal.
Those efforts nearly paid off in the 59th minute when Sebastian Velasquez unleashed a left-footed shot that hit off the crossbar.
Salt Lake had another good opportunity in the 81st minute when Kyle Beckerman chipped the ball to Alvaro Saborio near the right post. Saborio fired a quick volley, but Hamid knocked his shot over the crossbar.
''We can't seem to get over that last hurdle,'' Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis said. ''We scratched it out and did everything necessary to get to the point where we should have goal-scoring chances. It seemed like every single time, it just wasn't going to happen.''