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Union lose to DC United on penalties

The Philadelphia Union lost to DC United on penalty kicks and are out of the US Open Cup after one match for the second straight year.

Ruiz put the Union  up early but DC equalized on the stroke of halftime. In the second extra time period, Wollard put DC up 2-1, but Brian Carroll’s 117th minute goal sent the match to penalties.

McInerney and Torres both failed to score while DC United failed to miss, and they will play New England in the next round of the USOC.

Michael Farfan started on the right side of midfield and Keon Daniel earned a spot on the left side with his fine performance in the second half of the Galaxy match. Miglioranzi and Danny Mwanga made way for the new boys, giving the Union a 4-4-2 formation led by Le Toux and Ruiz.

GK: Mondragon

Def: Williams, Valdes, Califf, Harvey

Mid: Farfan, Carroll, Nakazawa, Daniel

Fwd: Le Toux, Ruiz

It was a cagey opening ten minutes before the Union started to ask questions of the DC defense. Le Toux put a cross into an empty box, then Harvey spun another one in that just eluded Ruiz.

Najar brought United back into the match with some dangerous movement in the 14th, but Ruiz’s second goal in blue and gold gave the Union the lead five minutes later.

The match opened up after that and Nakazawa’s cross was cleared from danger before Josh Wolff started to pressure Valdes and Califf. The defense held strong as DC continued to press.

It paid off just before halftime as Wolff headed into the Union net after a scramble in the box.

United had one more chance before halftime but Mondragon cleared from Ngwenya’s feet in the six.

In the second half, the newly installed wingers provided good service but the Union could not find a breakthrough. Daniel’s early corner rolled across the box without a finish, a bad omen for the rest of the half.

Najar’s influence grew as the match progressed and the Union struggled to regain the upper hand.

In the 60th, Le Toux’s deflected shot signaled a change in the tide. Farfan and Ruiz combined well on a few occasions but United’s defense bent without breaking and the Union failed to get shots on target to finish their good play.

In the 66th, Torres entered for Daniel and the Union established control of play until Jakovic gave Ruiz the heavy treatment, earning a yellow and forcing Ruiz to spend a moment on the sideline.

In the 73rd, Daniel made way for Mwanga and seven minutes later McInerney came on for the hobbled Ruiz.

But only six minutes after the Union’s last substitution, Valdes earned a second yellow and the Union were down to ten.

Farfan was forced to showcase his versatility by moving to the center of defense next to Califf, with Le Toux, Mwanga and McInerney looking to counterattack.

The next ten minutes (injury time included) were a flurry of chances for DC, with Farfan clearing off the line and Mondragon beating away a Najar cross.

In extra time, the Union were just looking to survive. In the 99th minute, Brettschneider broke through the defense but hit the post beyond Mondragon.

A minute later Ngwenya was in but Mondragon came out quickly to keep an even scoreline.

It all seemed to fall apart when Wollard found the ball in the Union box and buried it for a 2-1 United lead with only nine minutes remaining.

Ngwenya was in again four minutes later but Mondragon earned his armband with a huge stop. The Union seemed done and cooked

But Brian Carroll silenced the haters with a game-tying strike in the 117th minute. In the ensuing commotion, Peter Nowak was ejected from the match for persistent dissent.

The penalty kicks went down like this:

Le Toux GOAL GOAL Pontius

McInerney MISS GOAL Barklage

Torres SAVED GOAL Najar

Nakazawa GOAL GOAL Boskovic

And it was over.


  1. Thanks for the video coverage…it’s ashame we couldn’t pull out the win but at the same time considering the current depth of the squad it may be best to focus on only one competition.

    Any idea why Nowak was ejected?

    • Nowak seems to think he was ejected for celebrating a tying goal in the 117th minute. By that logic, Mourinho should be suspended until 2018.
      It sounds like the Union got more offensive flow with some wide players involved, which is something we’ve all been begging for.

  2. PhillyHotspur says:

    Appreciate the highlights, PSP

    How did Fat Chooch look ? Was he moving in super-super slow-mo or was he simply his usual super slow-mo self ?

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