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Neal seals final win for DC

Former Stoke City midfielder Lewis Neal netted the only goal as DC United beat Real Salt Lake 1-0 to win the US Open Cup final in Utah.

Last Updated: 02/10/13 at 08:34 Post Comment

Lewis Neal (r) during Monday's American Open Cup final in Utah where the for

Lewis Neal (r) during Monday's American Open Cup final in Utah where the for

It was only United's third Cup final victory - in this the 100th year of the competition - with the decisive moment arriving shortly before the break.

The 32-year-old's left-foot strike was also his first goal of the season for a club who have been struggling during the regular MLS season.

United have won just three times in 30 MLS games and, while they have no chance of completing a cup and league double, this triumph has qualified the team for a crack at the North American Champions League.

Meanwhile, Real Salt Lake had gone into the match with a real chance of securing the double.

They are currently second in the MLS with 51 points, sharing most wins in the league so far this season with Seattle and New York.

As for Leicester-born Neal, he made his professional debut for Stoke City while still a teenager in 2000 and went on to play for Shrewsbury, Carlisle, Notts County and Preston before heading Stateside in 2011.

By coincidence, he had a trial with Salt Lake last year but was not offered a contract and he duly signed for DC United in March 2012.

As for the match, Salt Lake were the dominant side and came close to equalising on 59 minutes when a long-range strike by Sebastian Velasquez crashed against the bar.

United keeper Bill Hamid also made a brace of excellent saves, but it was Neal who made the most significant contribution by firing home a loose ball from inside the box that sneaked inside the right-hand post.

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may well get slated by other United fans for this, but out of the three contenders, I'd far prefer Liverpool to win the title. Yes some elements of their fanbase can be a bit OTT, yes they're our biggest rivals and yes it will make our poor season feel even more like the end of an era (Fergie's gone, Liverpool are back on top). However I just have to applaud Brendan Rodgers and the way he's turned Liverpool around in just a couple of seasons. It...

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ooray! We are all excited now, we beat a very mediocre team! With all due respect to WHU supporters, not winning that game shouldn't even be a consideration. This is the problem, there is no winning mentality at the Emirates - we're all congratulating ourselves beating a team that we have a winning record against.

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Wenger hails important win

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s this meant to be an aspiration for United supporters? Moyes mediocrity strikes again. I see the Bayern boys don't want to sign for him, and his reputation amongst the senior European coaches make other key signings unlikely.

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De Gea's Europa League target

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