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Sacramento Republic breaks MLS hold on U.S. Open Cup Final berths

Joe Prince-Wright, Nicholas Mendola and Andy Edwards recap a flurry of transfer activity involving key USMNT players ahead of this year's World Cup, including Chris Richards heading to Crystal Palace.

We’re all Sacramento Republic fans now.

That’s hardly an exaggeration after the USL Championship side became the first non-MLS side to qualify for the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final since 2008 with a win over Sporting KC in penalties on Thursday.

[ MORE: Palace unveils USMNT defender Chris Richards ]

Yeah, Orlando City fans will be rooting for their team in the Sept. 7 final in Florida, but even Sacramento’s hardened USL rivals will be hoping to see the Republic punch above its weight one more time.

A win would make the Republic the first team outside of Major League Soccer to win the 105-year-old trophy since the 1999 Rochester Rhinos made the most of their second attempt at USOC glory.

Sacramento fans won’t need any extra sweetener, as its wait to join MLS as an expansion side has lasted for ages and its fan base is quite worthy of top-flight status.

How did Sacramento Republic make this happen?

The Republic pasted USL League Two side Portland Timbers’ U-23s in the second round, then took down Central Valley Fuego of USL League One.

Fellow USL Championship side Phoenix Rising was the next obstacle and was dispatched 2-0 before the Republic handled its first MLS opposition, San Jose Earthquakes, in the Round of 16. Then came the LA Galaxy and Thursday’s win over Sporting KC.

Follow @NicholasMendola