Union match reports / US Open Cup

Match Report: Philadelphia Union 2-0 New England Revolution

Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz
Storm video: Kevin Kinkead

Conor Casey scored early in the first half, and Sebastien Le Toux early in the second, to give Philadelphia Union a 2-0 victory over the New England Revolution in the quarterfinals of the US Open Cup.

The game was interrupted for an hour when, soon after the start of the second half, a storm raced through the area, first blowing gusting clouds of dust before turning to heavy rain and lightning.

“Crazy with the rain and everything,” interim head coach Jim Curtin said after the win. “But I thought our team had a good mentality, you know — coming off the rain delay, but I thought they also started off the game very well. I thought we should have been up 2- or 3-0  from the start. They were a little sluggish; took New England awhile to get going. Once they did, they’re a handful.

“Credit to my guys, though,” Curtin added. “I thought they all played well. If you go through man by man, I thought everyone had a pretty solid night.”

With the victory, the Union move on to a semifinal meeting with the winner of  Wednesday’s Carolina Railhawks-FC Dallas match.

First Half

Jim Curtin made one change to the team that lost at Dallas on Friday in MLS play, with Brian Carroll replacing Michael Lahoud, who was ineligible to play in the game after receiving a red card in the Open Cup win over New York Cosmos, in the central midfield.

The Union started brightly with Maurice Edu just missing a Cristian Maidana free kick in the 5th minute. Danny Cruz and Fabinho also worked a decent opportunity with Fabinho earning a corner kick in the end.

It was just the 9th minute when Conor Casey put the Union ahead. Sheanon Williams took a free kick from near the midfield line that caught the New England backline napping, with Casey playing the offside trap perfectly. The big striker latched onto Williams’ ball over the top, touched the ball to the left of onrushing Brad Knighton, and then slotted in coolly from a tough angle with his left foot.

Saer Sene almost equalized just a minute later for the Revolution. A similar play saw Sene beyond the Union defense and alone against Zac MacMath. The big striker did well to touch the ball around MacMath, but his weak shot was cleared in front of goal by Edu.

Philadelphia would have multiple chances to double their lead before the half but a lack of quality in the final third kept the game at 1-0. First Sebastien Le Toux broke down the right side, and appeared to have Conor Casey available in the box but his cross was cut out. Then it was Casey just missing from close range after Ray Gaddis made a great run down the right and picked out the striker with a low ball.

New England would have a great chance to equalize just before halftime. Steve Neumann found space to play in a low cross to the ever dangerous Sene, but the striker hit a fierce drive off the crossbar and the ball cannoned back out.

The Union would then hit the crossbar themselves as the half came to close. A short corner kick routine was worked to Fabinho, who fired in a perfect cross. But Sheanon Williams’ driving header hit the crossbar and bounced down and then out.

Second Half

Philadelphia doubled their lead just after the break through Sebastien Le Toux. Cristian Maidana did well to win a free kick on the right side about 25 yards from the New England goal. Le Toux’s free kick curved away from the rest of the Union attack, but a terrible mistake from former Union man Brad Knighton saw the ball slip through the goalkeeper’s hands into the goal. The goal was Le Toux’s 14th in the US Open Cup, making him the highest goalscorer in the modern pro era of the tournament.

“You don’t really think about it,” said Le Toux who, with tonight’s tally, has now scored 7 goals with 3 assists in the last seven games in all competitions. “It’s something the fans like more, so I think you should thank your stats guys.”

New England looked to be growing into the game when the match was interrupted in the 61st minute by a severe thunderstorm. Big wind gusts blew into the stadium, blowing loose dirt from Lot B right into the Sons of Ben in the River End. The match was delayed an hour while the storm blew through.

Aaron Wheeler replaced Conor Casey in the 62nd minute with the resumption of play. The big striker was immediately involved, picking off a pass from the New England backline. Taking one touch toward goal, Wheeler fired just wide of Brad Knighton’s far post with his second touch from a tight angle.

The Revs would make changes themselves, bringing on Kelyn Rowe,  Diego Fagundez, and AJ Soares. But despite increases possession as the second half wore on, chances were hard to come by. The best New England goal scoring opportunity came when Steve Neumann had his shot well saved by Zac MacMath in the 80th minute.

A.J. Soares would see his second yellow card of the match in second half stoppage time for rugby tackling Andrew Wenger as the Union substitute looked to lead a counterattack down the left side.

Interim head coach Jim Curtin improves to 4-1-0 in all competitions as Union coach. Philadelphia will face the winner of Carolina RailHawks-FC Dallas on the road in the semifinals of the US Open Cup on August 12.

“It’s good,” said Amobi Okugo after the win. “It’s a tournament we take very seriously. Any trophy you can take to your fan base I feel like you should take it seriously. Hopefully we don’t have a repeat of what happened in 2012.”

The Union return to league play this Saturday, July 12, against the visiting Colorado Rapids before hosting New York Red Bulls on Wednesday, July 16, and then traveling to Chicago on Saturday, July 19.

Philadelphia Union
Zac MacMath, Fabinho, Maurice Edu, Sheanon Williams, Ray Gaddis, Brian Carroll, Amobi Okugo, Sebastien Le Toux, Cristian Madiana (Fred 89′), Danny Cruz (Andrew Wenger 82′), Conor Casey (Aaron Wheeler 62′).
Unused substitutes: Andre Blake, Ethan White, Leo Fernandes, Antoine Hoppenot

New England Revolution
Brad Knighton, Darrius Barnes, Kevin Alston, Jose Goncalves, Stephen McCarthy (A.J. Soares 62′), Scott Caldwell, Andy Dorman (Kelyn Rowe 62′), Steve Neumann, Lee Nguyen, Teal Bunbury, Saer Sene (Diego Fagundez 45′).
Unused substitutes: Larry Jackson, Charlie Davies, Jerry Bengtson, Donnie Smith

Scoring Summary
PHI – Conor Casey (Sheanon Williams) 9
PHI – Sebastien Le Toux (unassisted) 47

Disciplinary Summary
NE – Stephen McCarthy (caution) 16
NE – A.J. Soares (caution) 46
PHI – Amobi Okugo (caution) 57
NE – Jose Goncalves (caution) 71
NE – Lee Nguyen (caution) 74
PHI – Sheanon Williams (caution) 75
PHI – Aaron Wheeler (caution) 76
NE – A.J. Soares (second caution/ejection) 91+

Stats (PHI/NE)
Shots: 9 / 4
Shots on Target: 4 / 1
Saves: 1 / 2
Corner Kicks: 9 / 4
Offsides: 5 / 0
Fouls: 11 / 9

Referee: Fotis Bazakos
Assistant Referees: Adam Wienckowski (AR1), Craig Lowry (AR2)
Fourth Official: Robert Sibiga
Attendance: 2,626

20 Comments

  1. I think the number sign at the top of section 101 went in the river. I saw it fly up and over the river end section.

    • Mike Servedio says:

      Think it was blown off but then restored after the rain delay. That’s what we heard via Twitter.

    • i think i saw a picture of some people in the river end holding the sign up at one point

    • yeah, that was my picture. A staff member fished it off the roof behind SOBs to a rousing cheer as the fans started chanting “1-0-1.” Good laughs–almost as funny as the SOBs mock cheering for all of Knighton’s saves in the post-delay warmup.

  2. George H says:

    It was nuts how that storm blew in through the River End.

    It’s a shame that we have to go on the road for the semis as the US Open cup matches are fun to go to at PPL.

  3. I’m glad that we won, but aren’t these the type of games that Blake should be playing in?

    • I don’t think so. I thought Blake looked a little shaky in the last US Open Cup game. These games aren’t friendlies. If you’re serious about wanting to bring some hardware home, you go with your best. And right now, I’d have to say that’s MacMath.
      Blake should get another chance with the Crystal Palace game coming up.

  4. Comedian Curtin on the Dallas/Carolina game tonight: “guess we just gotta sit back and hope for 5 or 6 red cards”
    .
    I don’t mind him as a coach or as a person. He can come over and drink my beer any time he damn well pleases.
    .
    Great showing boys, keep it up. Congrats to Seba on the record.

  5. 4-0-1 in all competitions? I thought the standard is usually wins-losses-ties, in which he would be 4-1-0, right?

  6. Andy Muenz says:

    Well played game last night by the U. I thought they were much the better team throughout.
    .
    Two of three lightning delays at PPL Park have come during Open Cup games which is nice. It gives more room to breathe in the concourse and allows the wimps to go watch from the dry seats when the game resumes in the rain (although it stopped raining at about the 70th minute).
    .
    This does show why they need to pave the lots 🙂
    .
    Was a strange drive home from the game. We hit two detours due to road closures in Chester and found three separate power outages in various parts of Chester.

  7. OneManWolfpack says:

    Ridiculously unacceptable that the game was not streamed online. Just when this league wants to be taken seriously they do crap like that. Awful.

    • soccerdad1150 says:

      There was something about US Open Cup formatting requirements to stream and the Union had an incompatible format and was not permitted to stream per US Open Cup organizers.

  8. philsoc8 says:

    Curtin’s preference for Wheeler and Wenger as substitutes instead of Hoppenot and Fernandes have made a huge difference. They both did a good job of keeping the Revs on edge for the final part of the match.

    • John Ling says:

      Wheeler looked good, I thought.
      .
      That dust storm was ridiculous. Insane.

    • I definitely prefer Wenger, and even Wheeler, to Hop and Fernandes. But why can’t Pfeffer get any more time?!?!? I know it’s late in the Cup, but we have (supposedly) young dynamic talent. Hernandez or McLaughlin or Pfeffer couldn’t make the 18?
      I wish all the best for Curtain, but I fear that his best attributes will be organizing the team. I’d like to see more creativity and drive offensively.
      Though I’m with OneManWolfpack above: couldn’t see this game-so maybe it was dynamic.

      • John Ling says:

        Some of them, I believe, are cup-tied to HCI.
        .
        Also, why the hell were there football lines on the field? What’s the point of having a soccer-specific stadium?

  9. this match ranks high in my “experiences” at PPL Park. probably just below the Chivas monsoon. good to see a win — that only 2,00 people saw — and experience one of the freakiest storms ever.

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