*In the worst of seasons, with precious few reasons to celebrate, D.C. United is going to play for a championship. Inconceivably, the worst side in MLS this year has flipped on the switch in the U.S. Open Cup, defeating a row of league opponents to reach the Oct. 1 final at Real Salt Lake, the Western Conference leader.

Dwayne De Rosario and Nick DeLeon scored four minutes apart on each side of halftime in the 2-0 away victory against the Chicago Fire, sending United to the title game for the fifth time. RSL defeated visiting Portland, 2-1.

“It’s been such a struggle in the league that I think after we got to the quarters, there was a real focus on our part to understand that this was extremely important and if we’re going to have a chance to win anything this year our best shot is the Open Cup,” Coach Ben Olsen said.

United and RSL have already met in the regular season: a 1-0 home victory for D.C. in the second week of the campaign.

TV coverage for the final is far from ideal: The rights are held by GolTV, which, with the rise of beIN Sport last year, was dropped from many cable systems. To broaden the audience, the U.S. Soccer Federation, which operates the Open Cup, might be able to provide a live stream. I’ll keep you posted.

United’s Luis Silva, who left early in the second half with a head injury, passed an initial concussion test but will require further evaluation, a club spokeswoman said this morning. (D.C. will visit Philadelphia in league play on Saturday.)

United has as many victories in five non-league matches as regular season games: a 3-0-1 record in the Open Cup, plus a draw in the Chivas Guadalajara friendly, compared to a 3-15-4 mark in MLS play. DCU has scored nine goals in those five non-league outings, 13 in the 22 regular season matches.

Before last night, United had not won an away match in any competition this year and scored just two goals.

*Even with the Buzzard Point announcement, you didn’t think the path to a new DCU stadium was going to be smooth, did you? Here’s the latest on the land acquisition front.

*The Washington Spirit had waited 2 1/2 months for a victory. What was another two hours? Leading Chicago 1-0 at Maryland SoccerPlex, the Spirit had to wait out two second-half lightning warnings before the match was called off in the 81st minute. Washington’s only other victory this season came at Seattle in mid-May. The Spirit will host the Reign this Saturday night (7 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer).

*After matches far apart last night, Roma and Chelsea have turned their attention to one another ahead of Saturday’s friendly at RFK Stadium (8 p.m. ET, ESPN Deportes, ESPN3.com). As of yesterday, ticket sales were around 20,000.

No public events are scheduled today or Friday. Chelsea set up camp in Washington nine days ago, shuttling in and out for matches in Indianapolis, New Jersey and Miami, and has been training at Catholic University. Roma played in Kansas City and Toronto, with a camp in Boston in between.

Roma is coming off a 4-1 victory at Toronto FC, while the Blues are recovering from a 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid in Miami.

*Boosted by the Gold Cup championship, the U.S. national team moved up three slots in the FIFA rankings to No. 19, passing Mexico in the process. The Americans’ opponent next Wednesday, Bosnia-Herzegovina, is No. 13. (Explain to me how Greece is 11th?) The U.S. roster for the friendly in Sarajevo will not come out until Monday.

*U.S. midfielder Alejandro Bedoya, a free agent who shined in the Gold Cup, has moved to Nantes in France’s Ligue 1 from Helsingborg in Sweden.

Americans abroad:


D Jonathan Bornstein 90 in Tigres’ 0-0 Copa MX draw with Cruz Azul Hidalgo

F Freddy Adu in the 18, did not play in Bahia’s 1-0 loss at Atletico Paranaense

Thursday (UEFA Europa League qualifying, 2nd legs)

F Terrence Boyd and Rapid Vienna vs. Asteras Tripolis (1-1 first leg)

F Charlie Davies and Randers at Rubin Kazan (2-1 loss in first leg)

MF Bryan Gerzicich and Hapoel Tel Aviv vs. Pandurii Targu Jiu (1-1 first leg)