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Match report: Philadelphia Union 2-1 Ocean City Nor’easters

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Brian Carroll’s second half stoppage time goal saved Philadelphia Union as they defeated Ocean City 2-1 in the third round of the US Open Cup.

The game had gone scoreless until Jack McInerney finally broke through a compact Ocean City backline in the 49th minute, but a 90th minute equalizer from Emmanuel Kollie looked certain to force extra time. Captain Carroll was able to rescue the win though when his flicked-on header deflected off the far post and trickled over the goal line.

Ocean City can head back to the Jersey shore with their heads held high though. While the Union offense was certainly lackluster, the team from the fourth division of US soccer defended resolutely and even found a way score a late equalizer. They were roundly applauded off the pitch by the Sons of Ben at PPL Park after the final whistle.

First half

John Hackworth named a strong starting lineup, with Leo Fernandes the only non-regular starter in the side. Sebastien Le Toux, Conor Casey, and Jack McInerney started up top in the first Union fans have seen of the 4-3-3 for a while.

The opening 15 minutes saw both teams with periods of possession and little in the way of chances for either side.

On multiple possessions, the Union were able to pick out targets near the top of the Ocean City box, but play consistently broke down there, with the next pass often going backwards or to Ocean City.

The Union only registered two shots on goal in the first half, the first of which didn’t come until the 19th minute when Sheanon Williams found room to hit a left-footed shot from 10 yards that was well saved by Brian Billings.

Leo Fernandes was one of the few bright spots for the Union. After a nervous opening 10 minutes, the young midfielder settled down and seemed to find his game. In the 20th minute, after receiving the ball 25 yards from goal, he nutmegged his marker and pushed the ball around another defender only to have his left-footed shot blocked at the last moment.

The half would wear on with few chances going either way. Jack McInerney would fire wide of the near post from 18 yards, and Keon Daniel had a half volley well saved.

Boos rang out from around PPL Park when the halftime whistle was blown.

Second half

Whether the team just needed 15 minutes to regroup or John Hackworth provided a stern half time talk, Jack McInerney finally found the missing bit of quality in the Union attack minutes into the second half.

Sebastien Le Toux found himself with time to cross from deep in the right corner. He skidded a ball across the box that seamed to weave past two Ocean City defenders before finding McInerney unmarked on the far post. The confident striker took a cool, controlling touch inside the six-yard box before tapping into the empty net.

Ocean City would rebound from the goal with a spell of possession in the Union half. Chances remained few and far between, and the best fell to Anthony Asante, who blasted over the bar from 20 yards when a rolling ball was played out to him.

Danny Cruz and Antoine Hoppenot were introduced as the second half wore on to try and seal the match with a second goal. But the two subs failed to make of an impact and clearly were not on the same page with both players trying to move the ball on the right side.

It was Keon Daniel who had the best chance to make it 2-0 when he had his free kick from 20 yards saved at the near post by Brian Billings.

It would be in stoppage time that the match would finally come to life. Just as the clock ticked past 90 minutes, Ocean City would find their equalizer. With the ball bouncing around the Union box, Ocean City first had a shot saved off the line, only for Emmanuel Kollie to bundle home the rebound. Extra time looked certain as all 11 Ocean City players (and their bench) celebrated on the touch line.

But the Union regrouped in the remaining two minutes of stoppage time to win the cup tie. Hoppenot made his best run with the ball in the game, surging down the center of the pitch. He found Cruz cutting in from the outside and played in the winger. Cruz’s shot was saved and the rebound fell to Le Toux, who looked certain to score into an empty net, only for his shot to be blocked over the bar by the recovering Ocean City defense.

Carroll would secure the win from the ensuing corner. Le Toux took the kick himself and Carroll met the driven ball at the near post, flicking it past a helpless Billings. The ball hit the back post and just barely crossed the goal line before being cleared by the Ocean City defense.

It was a harsh finish for an Ocean City team who looked to have done just enough to force the extra period.

There is no doubt that the Union looked tired after playing in Montreal on Saturday night. It seemed a great chance to give some of the fringe players a run out, with Don Anding and Matt Kassell on the bench. Forgotten man Roger Torres didn’t even make the 18, and Hackworth criticized the youngster’s training ethic in the postgame press conference. Speculation will only grow that his days in Philadelphia are numbered.

The Union will face DC United at the Maryland SoccerPlex for the third time in the next round of the US Open Cup on Wednesday, June 12 at 7pm after DC defeated the Richmond Kickers on penalty kicks to advance. Philadelphia eliminated United last season in the fourth round.

Philadelphia Union
Zac MacMath, Raymon Gaddis, Jeff Parke, Amobi Okugo, Sheanon Williams, Brian Carroll, Leonardo Fernandes (Michael Farfan, 89′), Keon Daniel, Sebastien Le Toux, Conor Casey (Danny Cruz, 64′), Jack McInerney (Antoine Hoppenot, 81′)

Ocean City Nor’easters
Kevin Billings, Kevin Curran, Tyler Hilliard, Tapiwa Machingauta, Ken Tribbett, Timi Mulgrew (Emanuel Kollie, 65′), Nick Perea, Frank Tweneboa (JP Correa, 87′), Anthony Asante (Zoncher Dennis), Markhus Lacroix

Scoring Summary
48′ PHI Jack McInerney
91′ OC Emanuel Kollie
93′ PHI Brian Carroll


  1. Where do you think roger Torres is going.

    • I jokingly said Toronto last night. In a deal for Califf, as it is the only way to avoid massive fan outrage over his departure.

      Either way i hope the kid asked for a trade, he deserves a chance to play somewhere and either play or get benched based on his performance other than God knows what metric for success that Hackworth sees in training.

      • Steve l. says:

        I couldn’t see the bench or the players warming up, s he even on the bench?

      • No he wasn’t even on the 18. Fernandez is over him now. They never had any plans for him they should have traded him before killing all of his value.

      • Steve l. says:

        Thats not how this team roles, haven’t you figured that out by now?

      • He was sitting behind me, actually. Treated my daughter nicely – as always – when she recognized him.

      • Yeah I saw Torres and Wheeler walking down one of the back stairwells after the game; neither dressed for this game

      • Jim Presti says:

        Rumor has it he is going to TFC in a swap for Califf

  2. Also, I want more fernandes

  3. Andy Muenz says:

    Union looked very out of sync last night. It seemed like there were either two players standing next to each other which meant no space or else players were letting the ball go through them in which case there was no one near them and it was turned over.

    Also, does Keon Daniel understand how wide the field is and that he is allowed to pass the ball to a spot other than the center of the field where even if the pass is successful, there are three defenders covering the man with the ball?

  4. So is Brian Carrol gonna play every game? Is Lahoud injured or did he ask for a trade?

  5. Richie The Limey says:

    Fernandes looked out of his depth and was way too slow. And this was against a team from the fourth tier. Our lackluster and lackadaisical play in the final third was largely down to Daniel and Fernandes killing any kind of momentum we had by using four or five touches when one would have been better. With thirty minutes left to play the OC lads were gassed – Hack should have changed formation to exploit the huge gap that sprung up between their back line and midfield but he is either too scared or too stupid to do so. It was a piss-poor performance from the team (blame Zach 100% for their goal) but mostly I blame the coaching staff.

    • Steve l. says:

      I’m not going to say Fernandes had a great game, but at least he was running at defenders where Keon was running away from them or just passing the ball to him. I agree about the coaching staff, it looked to me that the team where given instructions to play keep away and not push forward, against a lesser side that we should have pushed for another goal and killed the game that way. Hack is a great guy, but my wife put it perfect when she said he is the anti Novak, and we need someone in between.

      • It saddens me when we have to applaud players for not necessarily playing well but at least engaging in the game of soccer. I also never understand coaches who try and hold onto a 1 goal lead for 35 minutes against a lesser side. That is a recipe for a loss or a replay.

    • Smackey the Frog says:

      Not sure what you’re talking about. EVERYONE was slowing the game down and making poor decisions. Fernandes attacked when he should have and was probably following The Hack’s instructions otherwise. Leo showed alot of promise in that game. I completely agree about MacMath’s part in OCs goal though. That was pure comedy.

  6. Maybe my expectations were too high? I had expected our deep bench and a few names from Harrisburg in something closer to a videogame blow out rather than a nail biter that came down to stoppage time.

    • We don’t have a deep bench. We have only 14 players who have played more than 10 minutes all season. What you saw tonight was all this team can do personnel-wise.

  7. My thoughts on this game
    1.It took basically our first team line-up to beat them.
    2.jack was in the midfield for half the game which shows how little confidence he had in our midfield to make it up to him.
    3. why did we consistently allow them to get 9 or 10 guys behind the ball when we easily could have had a break away or at least some space(this happen at least 10 times)
    4. why did we insist on passing the ball around in the box. SHOOT the ball. Its like two girls at a tea party. one cookie for you and one for you. “you shoot it. no I insist you shoot it. oh there goes the other player with the ball. now next time we get to the box lets try for 6 passes and play rock/papers/scissors to see who shoots so its fair.”
    5. Hack obviously wasted a really good opportunity to let a few fringe guys get some real game experience and rest a few of our tired guys.
    6. at least we won. good on the captain for doing what a captain should do. lead the team.

    • Steve l. says:

      I understood why the starting defense was in the game (we have no one else on the team to play defense) but we gave a lot of midfielders so why not play them and give the other guys a rest, or start the guys you usually sub in and sub guys that don’t get used. Something othe than playing the same 14 guys. By June 5 they will have played 7 games in 25 days, that’s a game every 3.5 days, they looked slow and tired, because they probably were.

  8. Hack criticized Roger’s training ethic in the post game? You caused that problem by telling him if he came into the preseason in shape and ready to play he’d play. He was in shape and was one of the few bright spots of the preseason. Just come out and say it Hack, Roger was another of Novaks people and you want him gone. You’ve already destroyed most of his value so why not?

  9. My son saw the Union play the other day and said that his College team could beat them. After this game I think so as well…

  10. What did we do to deserve the worst coach in the league?

    • Buzzkill_Ed says:

      It helped that they didn’t interview ANYONE when they fired Nowak.

    • EllisCarver says:

      You haven’t seen DC play this season, have you?

      Don’t really mind the team not interviewing other candidates. Hack did a good job coaching in the second half of last season, and the team seems to respect him. We just need better personnel.

      • Great One says:

        Isn’t that also part of Hack’s job?

      • EllisCarver says:

        Yup, and I’m hoping that the Keita rumors are going to come true.

      • -nickt.- says:

        what exactly did hack do last season? there was a little bump right after the swap but a few games into the reign of hack and the team looked exactly as they had in the beginning of the year under nowak

      • Jason Kolodziejski says:


        Hack put Okugo in the starting lineup and he has been a huge plus for us.

        Hack put JackMac in the starting lineup and he has been a huge plus for us.

        Those two decisions alone were some great bright spots for us last season.

        I think getting Connor Casey is another bright spot. Bringing back LeToux (thought I’m not a fan of him).

        Hack did enough at the end of last season and the beginning of this season for me to give him more time.

        I think he needs to finish top 6, for me to sign him on for next season. Yes, even if he misses the playoffs with the 6 seed, I’ll still give him another year.

        Chiva’s pick for Garfan could wind up being the #1 pick next year if things keep going this way.

      • Well lets break that down a bit.

        I will give you Okugo and Jack Mac but remember the Union had lost Le Toux, Mwanga and Paunovic and Pajoy wasn’t working out at all. So as good as an idea as starting Jack Mac was it wasn’t a managerial master stroke either. it was Hack seeing the obvious that Nowak was too stubborn to see.

        Okugo on the was somewhat a necessity to after the Califf trade and Soumare not back to fitness hack simply plugged in the most athletic and somewhat underused player on the roster. It paid off somewhat and he performed better than expected. But he was overrated from the start and now with him getting exposed and no organizational force on the back line we have to come to terms with the fact that he is not a Central Defender. A great emergency back up but no starter. This also reinforced the idea that all Hack had to do was put an athletic defender into a hole in the line up and everything will be OK. He was wrong and we are hemorrhaging goals like Soccer Ebola.
        As far as Casey goes I have no problem with him none whatsoever but it should be noted that he was a somewhat risky acquisition and cheap.
        And the decision to reacquire Le Toux wasn’t a soccer decision but a marketing one. The only real input hack had in that decision is what number he wore.
        I’ll give you one more using Hoppenot as a super sub. Worked out better than expected.

        As far as I’m concerned he doesn’t have much time after this year. But it’s not up to me. He’ll be here right until it gets uncomfortable for Nick Sac. We still got the Califf card to play so that won’t be for a while.

  11. George H says:

    If the manager doesn’t have enough confidence in the players on his bench to go out and beat a PDL team, perhaps there should be more scrutiny on how this roster was out together and more importantly, who is responsible for assembling it.

    What worries me the most is that if we continue to roll out the same 13-14 players every match, we’ll have no legs by August. Plus, you hurt the confidence of your starters when they struggle in this match.

    There’s no reason why an Albright, Kassel, Anding or Hoppenot shouldn’t get a start in a match like this. It’s a long season and unfortunately, I get the feeling that the Union are viewing the US Open Cup as more important than making the playoffs.

    • George H says:

      …”how this roster was put together”…damn auto correct.

    • I would love to see a good open cup run. Frankly at this point I would rather win the open cup than struggle into the playoffs and get beat first round. Main reason is its an opportunity to play our youth and get into champions league. However if it just means more games for our already tired starters than why even play.
      the july transfer window is key for us. If we can’t get a few players to bring some energy we won’t get either a good open cup run or playoffs.

      By the way are hernandez and wheeler cup tied with harrisburg. Im not sure how this works.

      • Dan Walsh says:

        Hernandez, McLaughlin and Jordan are cup-tied to Harrisburg. I confirmed that with the Union. I don’t believe Wheeler is. Anding is not cup-tied to Harrisburg and was in the 18 last night.

    • Dan Walsh says:

      Very interesting point about how the Union view the Open Cup. But if you think about it, is it a bad idea? Right now, are the Union a playoff team with a legitimate chance to win the league title? Probably not. But if you draw the right match-ups and steal a few wins against teams not taking the cup as seriously as you, suddenly you have the club’s first trophy. And that probably means more than a first round playoff loss.

      • I don’t think that it’s a bad idea to make a run at the US Open Cup, but it bugs me that we are not allocating more time in a match like this to our bench players. It’s great to try and win this competition, but at some point (either in a semi or the final), we’ll see one of the top teams in MLS and I just hope that our “A” team still has their legs at that point to even give us a chance at the trophy.

      • Dan Walsh says:

        Well, that’s a fair point too. I was very surprised to see so many regular starters in the lineup so soon after the Montreall. I thought we’d see at least Kassel, Wheeler, Torres and/or Anding get a shot. Particularly Kassel or Wheeler.

      • I got the feeling a *lot* of MLS teams played mostly regulars for their Open Cup games. I was at the Dallas-Ft. Lauderdale game; Dallas played 8-9 regular starters (okay, plus Chris Seitz). I wonder if clubs got a memo from the league to take this more seriously, and not lose half their games to the minor leagues like last year.

    • Jaap Stam says:


  12. Great One says:

    This is just the next step in the unions ineptitude. Casey/Le Toux/Mac should have been given the night off, or maybe even 2 of them. They’ve been logging big time minutes recently, and we have other forwards on the bench.
    I honestly would not be sad to never see Keon Daniel again, he just looks awful out there. It’s painfully obvious Carroll can’t play in a 4-3-3, the midfield continues to be the biggest problem on the team by a large measure.
    How Torres doesn’t get a roster spot on this game is beyond me. It’s decisions like that, after the recent trades and performances, that really are taking away my excitement. The casual fan will just go away soon.
    Please don’t tell me Califf for Torres is a good idea, bc it’s horrible. Hey if we can bring in Califf for phantom money like we’ve been getting, then great. But Torres is a 21 year old player with potential. Califf will rarely see the field here, bc you know Carroll will never be moved for Okugo to move up. Please if you’re going to trade him, bring in a left back or a wide mid, so I don’t have to see Keon or Cruz again.
    Speaking of that, did anyone notice how Cruz’s pitiful touch was even more obvious against a lesser team last night?

    • Speaking of touch, Le Toux wasnt exactly showing off a velvet one either. It’s a shame we put so much stock in the “American” version of soccer playing like it is still 2002.

    • Califf for Torres was just a stupid idea, jokingly floated around don’t take that as actual rumor

      • Jim Presti says:

        I don’t think it’s rumor at all. At least not the part that Torres is on his way out. It’s just a matter of “to where” and “for what/whom”

      • Dan Walsh says:

        Yeah, but don’t be surprised if something like it actually happens.

      • I wouldn’t be surprised at all, it is exactly the kind of move that the Union would make

      • Jim Presti says:

        I posted a few days back, I think on the MTL match report, about the allocation for Keita and the Torres transfer.

  13. Great One says:

    FYI, great way to watch the streaming games… Run the game through your iPad/iPhone and connect it to the TV, then put the audio on the phillies game in the background, awesome sports night.

    • At least it wasn’t as bad as the telecast for the Montreal game. That cameraman was ideologically opposed to keeping the ball in frame.

  14. Smackey the Frog says:

    Little Leo looked great. That was the only real positive on the night, and Roger Torres being marginalized yet again really makes me hurt for the kid. Set Roger free, Mr. Hackworth. Its long past time. Trade him to DC or Chivas for Al O’Cation. There is simply no way he deserves this.

    • I dunno about Leo. Dude has momves, but I don’t think we can say if he has game or not. He reminded me most of Freddy Adu. Great dribbling, but relies on it too much and takes one touch too many or one step-over too many.

      • “Dude has moves…”
        Stupid fat fingers of mine that don’t want to do what I tell them…

  15. Even OC was beating Ray Gaddis like a rented mule. We have no hope on the left side…

  16. Southside Johnny says:

    Hardly worth the drive in traffic. How can Jack and Seba have legs left? Mac plays pretty good midfield tho which is killing his castrol ratings. Fernandez has moves but is way too slow even when overall speed of play all night looked like a DIII college match. Casey looked rusty. Williams wants to be a forward, I guess, but he either ran out of gas or Hack leashed him up 2nd half. Pretty sure Cruz decided not to feed Antoine after he ignored his sweet overlap. Our defense is so, so bad. Hackworth is starting to look desperate in his decision making. OC can be proud of their showing. Seba won a ball in the air!!! It was, however, against the shortest guy on the field.

  17. I was so mad to see Daniel playing the full 90 and then it occurred to me that maybe that means he will be too tired to play this weekend and then I was happy

  18. Jason Kolodziejski says:

    BTW — it should be noted that we have two players that the Dynamo didn’t want in our starting 11. Cruz & Daniel, that should be a sign that we don’t want them either…

    Dynamo is like the Pats in football or the Spurs in basketball. They have a great coach and system. If they didn’t want you, you probably shouldn’t want them on your team either.

  19. The back line is a major cause or concern. Have given up a lot of goals this year. Jason That makes sense, Kinnear didn’t want a kid he started all year and in an MLS Cup final. he has started everywhere he has played and there is a reason for that.

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