The Union aren't quite the Buffalo Bills of the U.S. Open Cup, but they're getting close.
Mauro Manotas scored a pair of first-half goals as the shaky Union were toppled by the Houston Dynamo, 3-0, on a rainy Wednesday night at BBVA Compass Stadium.
It marked the club's third Open Cup finals loss in five seasons.
After losing to the Seattle Sounders in 2014 and Sporting Kansas City in 2015, both at Talen Energy Stadium, the Union hit the road for their third Open Cup finals. But unlike the Sounders match, when the Union relinquished the lead, and the SKC match, which went to penalty kicks, this one wasn't competitive.
The Dynamo opened the scoring in the fourth minute on a brutal defensive breakdown by the Union. Beating Auston Trusty to the ball on the goal line, Alberth Elis placed a bouncing cross between defender Jack Elliott and goalkeeper Andre Blake, giving Manotas the easy header goal.
Manotas made it 2-0 in the 25th minute, when he moved past Trusty, easily gained the top of the box, and ripped a shot that rolled past the fingertips of Blake and in. It was a back-breaker for the Union, who put an onus on keeping Manotas in check.
Trusty's poor night went from bad to worse in the 65th minute, when he scored an own-goal off a rebound for the 3-0 Dynamo lead. It wasn't a mistimed header either, he kicked it right in. Would have been a strong finish if it was on the opposing goal.
That ol' sinking feeling. ☹️@austheboss3 has been outstanding throughout #USOC2018, but he'll want to forget the moment he put through his own net to give @HoustonDynamo a 3-0 lead in the @opencup Final. pic.twitter.com/NWa3Nhy0zz— U.S. Open Cup (@opencup) September 27, 2018
Union manager Jim Curtin pulled Cory Burke for Jay Simpson in the 68th minute. It was the right move, albeit a tad late. Simpson, the reigning MLS player of the week, had three shots in under 20 minutes, while Burke finished with three on the night.
Former Union player Andrew Wenger made the start for the Dynamo. If you can remember, it was Wenger who missed a crucial penalty kick in the Union's PK loss to SKC in 2015. He had the last laugh.
The Union will look to put this devastating loss aside quickly as they visit the Columbus Crew in MLS action on Saturday at MAPFRE Stadium. The Union are one point behind the Crew for No. 4 spot in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.