“In a Club that is trying to create history, you always shoot for trophies.”
That was Bob Bradley prior to the start of the 2018 U.S. Open Cup, as LAFC began its first foray into the oldest knockout tournament in the country.
History has already been made, but the job isn’t complete.
Since the start of expansion in 1998, only three MLS teams have reached the Open Cup semifinals in their first season – the 1998 Chicago Fire, 2009 Seattle Sounders, and LAFC with a 3-2 win over the Portland Timbers on July 18. Both Chicago and Seattle went on to win the tournament after making the semifinal.
Come Wednesday in Houston (5:30 pm PT | Streaming at USsoccer.com), LAFC are looking to continue down that path.
“I think we go into this game, a semifinal in Houston with a lot of confidence,” Jordan Harvey said of Wednesday’s match. “We played there not too long ago, and we came away with a good result. We played really well. And so, we’ll try to build on that, and try to get to a final.”
In Seattle and Chicago's inaugural runs to the Open Cup trophy, LAFC can draw even more parallels as well. Seattle had a similar opponent in their 2009 Open Cup semifinal, as they defeated the Dynamo 2-1 after extra time. Chicago also faced an opponent from the state of Texas, beating the Dallas Burn 3-2 in the 1998 semifinal. And of course, the manager of the Fire then was none other than Bob Bradley.
“There is a lot at stake in semifinals. You just have to be ready in all ways,” Bradley said.
“In a way, there’s more tension in the semifinal than the final of tournaments. I think you can probably say that’s true in all sports. Everybody wants to win events, but so often that semifinal match, just to get to a final, takes so much. All players understand what’s at stake in a semifinal. And that means that those games are going to be intense and very competitive.”
For Harvey, it all comes down to making history.
“That’s a huge thing in an expansion team’s first season is trying to get a trophy. So that will be big for us.”