Union match reports / US Open Cup

Match report: Philadelphia Union 1-0 Chicago Fire

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Sebastien Le Toux scored the only goal of the game as Philadelphia Union advanced to the US Open Cup Final for the second consecutive year by knocking off the Chicago Fire 1-0. The Union are the first Pennsylvania team to make it to consecutive finals since the Ukrainian Nationals did so in 1963 and 1964.

While much of the Philadelphia’s’s attack on Tuesday night flowed through Chaco Maidana, Le Toux’s goal in the 74th minute was a terrific solo effort in which he picked up a loose ball and fired home from the top of the Fire box.

First half

Union manager Jim Curtin made one change to the team that drew in Orlando on Saturday. Maurice Edu overcame a groin injury and returned to start in central defense with Steven Victoria dropped. Maidana returned to his central role, pushing Tranquillo Barnetta out wide.

The Union were on the front foot for much of the first half and created the first chance of the match in the seventh minute. The effervescent Maidana freed himself up and hit a curling effort from the right side that Sean Johnson pushed away.

Chicago was forced into an early substitution when newly acquired Designated Player Gilberto injured his knee in a heavy collision with Michael Lahoud in midfield. The debutante tried to continue, but he was eventually replaced by Kennedy Igboananike.

Philadelphia continued to probe the Chicago third, earning a series of corner kicks in the process.

The Union hit the post twice in a matter of seconds in the 24th minute. Maidana once again found room to shoot from the top of the box and after Sean Johnson pushed his effort onto the near post, the ball rebounded to the left of goal. C.J. Sapong was first to the loose ball but could only fire his shot off the outside of the post.

The Fire would get their best chance of the half in the final minute. David Accam burst into the box down the right side, but his shot was well saved by John McCarthy at his near post.

Second half

Philadelphia would keep the pressure up after half time. In the 50th minute, Fabinho broke free down the left side and tried to find Sapong with a low cross, but the ball was just cut out before reaching the big forward.

In the 66th minute, Maidana whipped a free kick into the Chicago box from 40 yards that seemed like it only needed a touch to give the Union the lead. But Maurice Edu’s flick only skirted the ball onto the roof of the net from close range.

The Fire then introduced Jason Johnson and Mike Magee, and the Union brought on Eric Ayuk as each team looked to secure the victory in regulation.

Sebastien Le Toux found the winner in the 74th minute. The winger picked up a loose ball near the top of the Fire box on the right side and cut across the face of goal, moving the ball to his left foot. He fired a low shot toward Sean Johnson’s near post that tagged the post and tucked in beyond the keeper’s outstretched hand to give Philadelphia a deserved lead.

The goal was Le Toux’s 15th in the US Open Cup, making him the leading goalscorer in the modern era of the competition.

Chicago searched for a late equalizer, sending more and more numbers forward. They got their best chance in the 85th minute. Kennedy Igboananike pushed an overhead kick toward the top corner of McCarthy’s goal, but the young goalkeeper was up to the task and pushed it over the bar.

Since Sporting Kansas City defeated Real Salt Lake 3-1 in the other semifinal, Philadelphia will host the US Open Cup Final on September 30 at PPL Park. The two teams last met in this competition in the 2013 US Open Cup Semifinals, a game Kansas City won 2-0.

Philadelphia Union
John McCarthy, Fabinho, Maurice Edu, Richie Marquez, Ray Gaddis, Brian Carroll, Michael Lahoud, Cristian Maidana, Tranquillo Barnetta (Eric Ayuk 71′), Sebastien Le Toux, CJ Sapong
Unused Subs: Andre Blake, Warren Creavalle, Fernando Aristeguieta, Zach Pfeffer, Fred, Ethan White

Chicago Fire
Sean Johnson, Lovel Palmer, Eric Gehrig, Jeff Larentowicz, Joevin Jones, Harry Shipp, Matt Polster (Mike Magee 77′), Razvan Cocis, David Accam (Jason Johnson 58′), Shaun Maloney, Gilberto (Kennedy Igboananike 20′)
Unused Subs: Jon Busch, Patrick Nyarko, Michael Stephens, Matt Watson

Scoring Summary
PHI: Sebastien Le Toux — 74′

Disciplinary Summary
PHI: Fabinho (foul) – 30′
CHI: Mike Magee (dissent) – 83′
CHI: Razvan Cocis (dissent) – 85′

Philadelphia Union Chicago Fire
11 Shots 6
4 Shots on Target 2
4 Shots off Target 4
3 Blocked Shots 0
 10 Corner Kicks 8
 23 Crosses  22
 5 Offsides 0
 11 Fouls 11
1 Yellow Cards 2
0 Red Cards  0
 423 Total Passes 408
 72% Passing Accuracy 74%
 50.9% Possession  49.1%
 48 Duels Won 50
 49% Duels Won % 51%
10 Tackles Won  14
2 Saves 3
13 Clearances 35

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  1. We want the cup!

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      And we shall have our chance (again) at PPL!!! We want the Cup… gotta have that Cup!!! We want the Cup… gotta have that Cup!!! See you all in September!!
      On a side note, I thought Curtain coulda made one more sub, maybe Chaco, to lock it down… but it worked out. The U were the better team… Glad they got the win. WELL DONE BOYS!!

      • I thought he did fine. If Chicago had tied it up, he would have had two sets of fresh legs for OT. And he would have had some issues if he brought in a defensive sub and the Union still gave up the tying goal.

      • No way I would’ve taken Chaco out. I may have subbed CJ for Nando after the goal because CJ was so gassed, but that’s a 50/50 call. Let’s not just talk about the moves that weren’t made. How about having the foresight to move Chaco back inside once Edu was there to beef up the D and push Barnetta out wide. Starting Michael Lahoud again (who, barring injury, is your complementary piece to Nogs going forward…hopefully for years to come). U dominated that game, other than about a 10 minute stretch of the 2nd half…and a lot of it was due to the tactical gameplanning.

      • Lahoud/Nogs/Chaco/Barnetta

        Does the 4-4-2 make an appearance?

      • Nah, I think if they can grab a good GK and upgrade LB, they have the perfect personnel to play the 4-2-3-1 effectively. GK-Gaddis-Mo-Richie-LB-Nogs-Lahoud-Seba-Chaco-Barnetta-CJ. Dressed bench: Crevalle, Fabihno, Pfeffer, new backup CB, Ayuk, new backup F, McCarthy or Sylvestre.

  2. No penalty kicks, red cards or lightning delay and a one nil victory? What the %#*& is going on?

    Fun night down at PPL. Gotta love a cup competition to make things better.

    • right?! i mean, it was a complete match, without drama or distraction. the ridiculousness of this season’s campaign, alone:
      so this Open Cup run has included 2 Union red cards, two sets of penalties, a false 9, a 4pm weekday game, and a Fabinho game-winning goal”

  3. Wow, just wow. When they showed KC tied it up I just knew the final would be here. Maybe next game we can get more fans?! Please come out!

  4. el pachyderm says:

    Well done.
    There is always going to be a good team standing between you and anything of value or a brick wall over and over or the highest expression of yourself… please let us not come to this spot again without being ultimately triumphant.

    Y.E. Yang was the first to ever stare down Tiger Woods in a major… beat the vastly superior player by playing him without fear. Nobody remembers Y.E. Yang, he slipped into the mist never to be heard of again for the most part but he was the champion PGA Golfer of 2009…

    I am okay with the relative obscurity of MLS purgatory while you figure all this other stuff out in who this team is going to be… just don’t blink this time. Win. I don’t give a damn the who the how. Win.
    Make. Make. Be your future Danny.

    • I’m telling you, this team is not that far away. Barnetta was a huge get…you can see the quality. Give him a full offseason, and he’ll be a force next year. He’s just gotta get used to the league, MLS player quality, etc. Lahoud is a big-time player, if he can stay healthy. You get a starting-caliber MLS GK in here, an upgrade at LB, and some depth up front…you’re looking at a good team next season.

    • Be the ball, CJ, be the ball.

  5. Time to finish the job on September 30th. Great win, Go U!!

  6. Anyone see Ayuk do his summersaults?! They were more massive and impressive than any has done before. Fantastic way to finish the night.
    Union should have won 3-0. They missed too many chances; something that could haunt them against a prolific KC.

    • They have to tighten up the marking on corners vs KC. Chicago did not take advantage of a couple of lax marks by the U. Barnetta got beat once badly, as did Fabihno. Also, Seba took a huge gamble when he swiped at the Fire player going to goal inside the box (2nd half). He’s extremely fortunate that the F didn’t feel that swipe and fall down. Not a very smart play. 3-1 or 3-2 was an accurate assessment of that game. Either way, Union deserved to win.

      • Forget marking corners, how about Union get a shot on target off a corner.

      • No, please don’t forget marking corners. I still have nightmares from earlier this year. And last year. And the year before that.

  7. They had more than 17,000 in KC tonight. We had Max 4,000 in PPL. Shows that we just have too many weekend fans and not enough hard core supporters here in Philly

    • Sadly, you are correct. Sunday’s match is meaningless, and even if only 12k are there, it will be 3x the crowd tonight.

    • It shows that the U’s marketing department is understaffed and beyond hideous. Spend some f’ng $$.

      • +1! Every other game we hosted in the USOC had some kind of ticket promo to actually gives fans some incentive to come out. The Union marketing folks dropped the ball in a major way last night and it showed in the attendance numbers. Lets hope they get it right for the final.

      • I was told that the USSF set the prices for Open Cup matches. I could’ve been told incorrect information but I don’t think this was the Union’s fault.

      • Price points were too high, and should’ve been discounted with promo offers as the game date drew closer and there were huge swathes of seats available.

      • I was there with my family. But can understand why many weren’t.

      • I think in our office we have more marketing folks employed than the Union does. The FO is so incompetent and can not see that a little investment in marketing can go a long way. And I am not just talking about getting people to this particular game but to make them hard core so that they understand the difference between an important match and a so-so match. It seems a lot of folks go to PPL park only to see the ‘stars’ of teams we play.

      • It’s truly amazing. I coach at a local soccer club and find myself again explaining to parents what the Open Cup is, its format, etc. The Union PR folks (if there are any) don’t communicate well at all that soccer is not a traditional American sports format. There are competitions outside of league play, almost as important as league play. It’s the U’s responsibility to educate the non-diehard soccer public in order to make them knowledgeable…which translates into better ticket sales, TV numbers, ad $$, etc. So short-sighted all the way around.

    • Drove 150mi round trip tonight. Got there over an hour early, they weren’t even letting people in the gates. Rearranging my life for one day was a small price to pay in exchange for being present for that game.
      If I can do it, you can too Union fans!

    • I watched the game here in Germany. I was at an open cup semi against sporting three years ago and acted like a fan at a semi final even though the stadium had 4,000 people in it. I sat in a corner and the people around me were telling me to “Calm down!”, “Be quiet! Nobody here cares!”, and “I don’t even know what this tournament is?!”. Most union fans are incredibly dispassionate and uneducated. The game looked pathetic on T.V. I’ll see you all in September in the river end!

      • ‘Most Union fans are incredibly dispassionate and uneducated…’
        I think this is a statement that walks a slippery slope and is lumping ‘Most’ fans into your stilted POV- i.e. regarding poor attendance last night maybe it is because of a frustrated fan base…maybe it is because many families are on vacation prior to the week before middle school and high school athletics beginning..(went home the other day from shore and my town is a ghost town)…
        maybe it was a steeped cost of entrance. There are other variables you are not taking in to account….just laying dispassion and uneducated at our feet is misguided.

      • Coming from a guy who argues for reduced attendance numbers as a means of public revolt against the mismanagement of FO.

      • You must be new Jonathan. Certainly uneducated as to the Union fan. If you were, you’d realize the lack of merit your statement has.
        I’m new to this site myself. I just found it during the preseason because of a CSN article that referred me here. Thank the heavens it did.
        I’ve seen, and had the pleasure, to be involved in some of the most in-depth discussions about ANY sport, on this site. OSC, El Pachy, VDS, cszack4, and others (if I forgot you I apologize) all have insight, opinions, and have seen things I didn’t. All wear their hearts on their sleeves for this team.
        Now, the writers and columnists who provide this website, are also fans. Adam Cann writes such in-depth analysis after each match, I can hardly believe he hasn’t been snatched away to write for a big news outlet. Mike Servedio here, writes the match report, and also does a damn good job. Dan Walsh lives in Italy for pete’s sake and still writes an article every week from across the Atlantic. And Ed Farnsworth does the dirty work with in-depth rounds ups and important news from around the globe. These guys are all Supporters! And I wonder how much they get paid to do it? I’m guessing, not so much, if anything, anything, at all.
        From a MLS franchise that came about because of a supporters group, to this website that’s run by more of those supporters, it all says you are wrong sir. You are wrong.

      • I think you are wrong. We have many who have good insights and opinions and can be described as hard core union fans but most are not. You just had to look at what section was ‘full’ last night. The RE was circa 60% full, everything else 10-20%. The FO should do a much better getting more of their fans more passionate.

      • Last night was a combination of all things. Last week of vaca before school starts (many people go down the shore, on trips), a total lack of marketing by the U’s FO, a total lack of education to the casual fans of soccer format (league, open cup) in this country, the full ticket prices for a non-league game…all of it comes into play. And (I’ll take a juvenile shot year since I lived in the midwest for a # of years)…what else did people in Kansas City have to do last night besides go to the game? 🙂

      • So, since the Phillies have lost over half their attendance per year, since winning the World Series, would that make the fans uneducated and dispassionate too? I’d say not.
        I agree that the stands have their fair share of families bringing their kids just for a day out. It happens. I understand that. But, I also wouldn’t call them fans. I’d call them spectators. There is a difference. So, I take offense to that statement about the fans. It belittles them. And I won’t accept disparaging words about fans who have supported this club, despite the shit-show of an F.O. that seems to share in your opinion of their fans. I’m sure Sak has a place open you can sit.

      • A fan, sometimes also called aficionado or supporter, is a person who is enthusiastically devoted to something or somebody, such as a band, a sports team, a book or entertainer. Collectively, the fans of a particular object or person constitute its fanbase or fandom. They may show their enthusiasm in a variety of ways, such as by promoting the object of their interest, being members of a fan club, holding or participating in fan conventions, or writing fan mail. They may also engage in creative activities (“fan labor”) such as creating fanzines, writing fan fiction or drawing fan art.

      • I can’t speak for Jonathan, but I’m going to anyway. To be fair, he was referring to the abysmal attendance and his past experiences at PPL Park. He’s not calling a handful of guys who write or post on this website “uneducated and dispassionate”. Anyone on here probably follows the Union more closely than most. However, generally, we are an apathetic fanbase. The truth stings. I don’t hear Flyers fans whining about midweek games and getting up the next day for work. I don’t see 40,000 empty seats at an Eagles Sunday night game because people have to work the next day. A few mentioned that the game should’ve been free. The same people who bought tickets for last night’s game are the same 3,000-4,000 who showed up for the FREE Open Cup matches previously (for season ticket holders). It wouldn’t have made much of a difference. On Sunday, there will be 12,000 people at the match, maybe. The Union will announce between 17,000 and 19,000 paid attendance. That means that between 5,000 and 7,000 with tickets just aren’t going to show up. That is an ocean of apathy. It’s not a boycott or a protest….THE UNION ALREADY HAVE YOUR MONEY. It’s laziness and excuses. Suck it up.

      • I disagree re: apathetic fan base. There are so many reasons that we have a few thousand empty seats per game: (a) all of those other Philadelphia teams you mentioned have been around for 50+ years (go check out the Flyers first 5 years of average attendance…13K), (b) the stadium is located in Chester (terrible all the way around) and has brutal traffic patterns, (c) the stadium is located in Chester with absolutely nothing around it, (d) the league is still only 19 years old and just got a major TV contract, (e) there’s no TV contact for the Open Cup games (which is inexplicable), and (f) we have an underfunded team and a comparatively poor ownership group vs the rest of the league. There are a lot more reasons I’m sure, but those are the 6 that popped into my head in about 15 seconds.

      • So someone who gave their money to support their sports team, then maybe had other plans mid-week, are lazy? That takes some gall to say that. I think you presume too much.
        The Flyers fan may not complain about mid-week games, maybe due to the fact that the games were scheduled months in advance(so they could plan to be there), but they sure showed how disgusted they were with management over the past few years, by all the empty seats. There were quite a few. Seems big Ed noticed that. And now they have Hextall with a plan for their future.
        As for the Eagles, in the early days they had shitty attendance too. My father had to drag my grandfather to games. College football used to be king, and Pro football was seen as a joke, much like MLS in the beginning. FYI their matches are also scheduled months in advance. Also not in the month where a majority of our area takes their vacations.
        As to Johnathan’s experience three years ago, I wouldn’t call those people fans (see definition above for clarification). Did they seem fanatical in their devotion to you? I.E. not a fan. I.E. spectator, interested observer. So again, insulting a fan, by comparing their knowledge and devotion to spectators, is wrong. It’s naive, and insulting. Point of interest, nowhere in the definition of fan, does it say you have to go to a stadium to be one. The key words are “They may show their enthusiasm in a variety of ways…”.
        You can speak for Johnathan all you like. That doesn’t make you any less wrong.

      • I can’t argue that Chester isn’t a major detraction. It was a terrible decision to build a stadium there. We’ll have to agree to disagree on everything else. The MLS schedule is set months in advance, too. There will be 11,000 people in the stands on Sunday. Several thousand WITH TICKETS won’t show up. Because it’s a work night. There are thousands of empty seats for the home opener every year. Scheduled months in advance. Because it’s cold. We didn’t sell out the Cup Final last year. They advertised the hell out of it. IT WAS THE CUP FINAL. That would happen in other cities, too. I just didn’t think it would be here. It makes me sad and frustrated. Time for beer!

      • It’s not that most Union fans are dispassionate. It is in fact just the opposite. And many have been turned off by a club that has missed the playoffs all but one season and gets riled by some off-field controversy every other year. Add that to the pile of baggage that comes with being a Philly sports fan, combine it with a midweek game (as opposed to a weekend) that has been minimally advertised, and it’s totally understandable that some would not show up to a cup match in a tournament that is one of the least advertised of its kind.

        I’m a big Knicks fan in basketball. But I won’t watch them anymore. (They teased me back with D’Antoni and Jeremy Lin before reality returned.) It’s like asking to get kicked in the nuts repeatedly. That’s how many Union fans are. Many have stepped back from a team that they still support, albeit not in the same way they did before.

      • Hey guys,
        I didn’t mean to offend any true union supporters or even casual ones. Do whatever makes you happy at the stadium and support however you would like. I sit with the SOB because I’ve been a member since before the team started and the section suits my inability to sit during a match. I read this page frequently and I know how much everyone here cares about this club and how frustrated everyone is with the front office.
        That being said, I don’t think it that controversial to point out that there were two semi finals of a domestic cup on Wednesday. One (with the exception of the sons of ben and a few others) had a few thousand people lounging out talking on cell phones. The other, had 17,000 people on their feet celebrating. That’s all. I also have noticed that the general atmosphere at the park, even when it’s packed, in all of it’s seasons has been lacking in enthusiasm compared to some other franchises that are not that old or succesful. I’m not trying to put anyone down, that is just what I’ve noticed since year one.

      • I’m not offended. Don’t worry about it. It’s good to see people voicing their opinions in the Comments section. That ours differ is totally cool. It makes for more interesting conversation. 🙂

      • Dan, if I may……I was less referring to lack of attendance at the Open Cup and more referring to the lack of attendance at regular season matches, especially midweek and Sunday night games. It might not have come across that way. The front office is a mess and Chester is more than a bit dodgy. I get it. What I don’t get is people owning tickets (season tickets or single game), having the ability to get to the match ( I get that you can’t go if you’re down the shore/beach, out of town, too far away, blah, blah, blah), and just not showing up because it’s a bit of a pain in the ass. I’m afraid that’s the case in a lot of situations. I’ve seen season ticket holder seats go empty every match so far this year. I’ll never get that, no matter how much the front office and team blow. I’m not insinuating that you can’t be a fan if you don’t go to matches. I’m really not. As far as attendance (actual, not paid) goes, I thought we’d be more like Portland and less like NYRB/Chicago. It depresses me as a fan. PPL Park can be an intimidating place to play, but it too rarely is because, in my opinion of course, not enough people with tickets make the effort, disenchanted or not.

      • I guess my problem was with the terminology. I wouldn’t call what Jonathan described in his experience three years ago as a fan. To me that would be a spectator. Which is fine. People obviously can choose the level of their own involvement. But a fan, by definition, is fanatical. And thus, what you described, voids the possibility that they were fans. So the burr got under my saddle because of what I felt was trying to demean the fans.
        Now, if we wanted to say that the fan base for the Union is relatively small, that I can absolutely agree with. If we wanted to say that the fans have become disenfranchised, I will also agree to that. To what level, it depends on the individual.
        So when I read the comment about the fans, it felt like the finger was being pointed in my(our) direction. Unfortunately right now I’m unable to afford going to games. But that doesn’t mean I don’t watch every week, or search the web for any little detail I can find. It doesn’t make me any less of a fan.
        After the win the night before, the last thing I expected to read was a comment on the fans. I went from elation to blood boiling in seconds. I love this website. I appreciate the work they do to feed the fandom. And most of all the discussions we have in the comments. It brings me joy. So, if in my over-zealous attempt to defend myself and the other fans, wherever they might be, I offended, I apologize. I guess that’s my fanatical fandom coming through.

      • No, you’re right. It was the wrong time and place to harp on it so much. The attendance discussion came up early in the thread and I went a little overboard by calling people lazy, not being in their shoes and all. I just love when the Park is full and loud. Aside from the stadium opener in 2010, the Cup Final last year was the best time I’ve had at a match. Let’s sell it out and win this time.

    • Officially listed around 5,200 (can’t remember the exact number).

  8. I think long term, this is a bad thing for the club, since it won’t allow a 10 game headstart for 2016.

    This was awful soccer. These are clearly the two worst teams in MLS. And Chicago was just…oh gosh, some of those passes.

    Go win the damn Cup. Over the course of a season, this group cannot contend. For one night, especially against an opponent the Union have historically matched up well against, win the damn thing. For all the work the players and coaches have put in this year, with little to show for it, go win the damm Cup.

  9. Did curtin just kind of throw up his hands and tell Barnetta and Maidana to play wherever they wanted just so long as it was kind of sorta over there?

    • Or maybe, with Maidana captaining the offense from his usual spot, Barnetta — a very experienced player — was able to read his movements and find the space he vacated. Which could augur awesomeness for next season. (Or not, the Union being the Union. But in the middle of an amazing USOC run we can dream temporarily.)

    • It seemed coordinated to me, to be honest. They started with Barnetta on the left, Maidana in the middle, and Le Toux on the right. But there was a lot of switching. At times, Maidana was on a wing and Barnetta in the middle; there was at least a little while with Maidana in the middle but Barnetta and Le Toux switched sides. I don’t think it’s random; I think it’s being done intentionally, a mix of Barnetta filling gaps and the Union giving different looks to the defense within the same game. Because lets face it: defending your wing when Le Toux is there is much different than when Barnetta is there.

  10. el pachyderm says:

    ‘And I awoke faintly bouncing around the room.’

  11. The fact that they dominated this game pretty thoroughly without Nogueira is a good sign as well,

    • Yesterday was the first chance I had to see Barnetta in person. I’m excited about seeing him and Noguiera working their magic in the middle with Maidana. I think it’s going to be beautiful.

  12. Old Soccer Coach says:

    Very glad they won. Very. For them as well as us. Even though they are reported to have stayed together and stayed positive, think about how hard it has been.
    The crowd was held down by the decision not to “comp” the game to full STHs; the SOBs turned out fairly well and sounded even better. Mid-week also holds down the crowd. Paying full price for a semi final does not seem to appeal to Philadelphians, which is no surprise upon reflection. Perhaps they should’ve tested half-price. My own suspicion, irresponsible because no evidence supports it, is that U.S. soccer wanted its cut of the gate and ordered the higher price. No matter. The final will be well attended.
    Scottso directly above got it right about barnetta reading Maidana and adjusting, I think. I anticipate that if Adam Cann writes the player ratings analysis, he will complement Le Toux on his display of position discipline. His failed second half slide tackle started outside the box from where I sat, may have been timed to avoid the box I thought. In any case it flustered the ball carrier enough so that others cleaned up the mess.
    Andy Muenz speaks my mind about Curtin’s substitution pattern. Like it or not he demonstrates himself to be an “If it ai’n’t broke, don’t fix it! Kind of guy.”
    Sarong was awfully tired by the very end; I hope he is rested completely on Sunday. Start Aristiguieta and finish with Casey. Edu was not tired, but the weakened groin could use a good rest as well. Vitoria did well, although if he is on the pitch # 11, the Nigerian super speedster who scored when the Fire beat FC Dallas in Chicago whose name Seems temporarily blocked in my mind, scores at the end of the first half. His removal for Johnson in the second half seemed premature; he had been their only scarily dangerous threat from the run of play.
    Thank you, John Hackworth, for the way you developed Richie Marquez last season. If you had had this season’s player last season, perhaps there would have been fewer late game defensive lapses.
    Ovations Food Service, please keep the BBQ section of the Hot Dog stand behind section 104? open. So much better than hot dogs.

    • Go watch that LeToux slide tackle again. He is REALLY fortunate that he missed the Fire striker. That was 100% PK if Seba made contact. Started his slide tackle outside of the box, but the Fire striker was at least 1-2 feet inside the box when Seba’s swipe came up empty. Right at the start of the 52nd minute. Very, very fortunate. And my guess is that Hack really didn’t have a whole lot to do with Marquez’s development. Beginning of last year, Hack moved Parke and banked on Austin Berry being the CB. He also tried to convert Aaron Wheeler, which was a disaster. I’d be surprised if Richie was much on John’s radar. Plus, Jim took over at the beginning of June, so 2/3 of the season was under his watch. Spot on re: lack of attendance last night. All of those factors and then some. Agreed.

  13. I watched the match behind my computer. Around the 60th minute my cat crawled onto my chest to watch the match too. I warned him, I was going to yell when the Union scored. Ten odd minutes later, I had a warm feeling in my heart. A cat running for the hills. And multiple scratches on my chest. Priceless. Who says fans don’t bleed for their teams?
    Great match. Wish I could have been there with those of you who were. Thank you Seba for being an Open Cup master of goals. Keep that cup at PPL park boys. Don’t let them leave the stadium with it!

  14. Missed opportunities. Happy with the win but KC is going to be a different animal all together. The Fire were putrid.

    • agreed. that 3-0 we should have had will be needed. i’m glad for injury recovery and team dynamics we have as long as we do to the final. we need to be flawless.

  15. We want the cup! Thankfully our seats were near the River End … it helped overcome the ghost town PPL was for the game.
    Chicago was terrible on the night. They must have played at least 5, possibly 10 uncontested balls out of bounds. We dominated defensively b/c it seemed there was maybe two players on the Fire that could possess the ball for more than three steps. You could thank our pressure for that, as it was very good throughout the night. That said, I can’t say I wasn’t holding my breathe every time Chicago touched the ball. I was waiting for that one play we’ve seen at some point in every game this season, that turned the tide on us. But on this night, that moment never came! We want the CUP!
    I don’t think you can remove Chaco at that point of the game b/c his skill with the ball. Once the ball was at his feet, there was nary a player on the Fire that was able to dispossess him all night.
    Harry Shipp … you have to get him more involved if you are Chicago.
    If Chicago was able to switch the field more quickly, they would have easily been able to take advantage of how far Barnetta was drifting inside. He was leaving acres of space for us to defend … but Chicago never took it. As I said, they were terrible on the night.

  16. I thought about going to this game. I really did. It was the semi-final. Beautiful weather. I tried to talk my wife into going (she usually accompanies me when I attend Union games), but she was busy. That’s ok, I can go by myself and still enjoy the atmosphere.
    But then I thought: It’s Wednesday night, Chester is an hour drive each way for me, I have to get up early for work the next day and as a Cup match, this game had the potential to go into extra time and maybe a shootout to follow. So I watched the stream instead.
    And I’m glad I saved my money and didn’t go. The product offered isn’t good. I’m happy the Union won of course, and I was pleased with some of the chances they got (not so much with the finishing tho), but there were long stretches of the game that brought home the fact that these were 2 sucky teams playing. The 1st 20 minutes of the 2nd half was terrible. Jill Loyden criticized both teams for their lack of urgency and she was right.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      Actually, it was a beautiful summer evening to go to a game, regardless of the qualify of play.

    • Jill Loyden nailed it with that comment in the second half. The first was equally horrible from the Fire but the Union were making things happen. I don’t know what kind of half time speeches were given but I’m assuming it was something along the lines of “OK guys let’s just not lose this in regulation”.

      • I think she lost her cue cards at halftime. You know, the cards that the front office supplies? She seemed more honest in the second half.

    • I just don’t understand this sentiment. It was a mid week game, summer heat and humidity, near the end of the season. Neither team was going to be their freshest. Maybe I have different expectations.

  17. el pachyderm says:

    Against Sporting we need to have one of those nights when our finishing is at the outside edge of our bell curve…truth be told I have a feeling, a warm feeling, that says we win going away.
    Of any team to be playing I like SKC… we play them well.
    I don’t care the who or the how…just win.

    • I don’t think we need to be near the outside edge of the scoring curve. Just on the right-hand side. Anything beyond “average” (for this team) may be enough.

  18. Haven’t seen anybody else say this, so I wanted to make sure it got mentioned. Brian Carroll was a beast last night. He was more active east-west, but he was also more active north-south. He was around the box a few times (including, I think, missing a shot inside the 6).
    I, like a lot of people, was down on Brian Carroll. I very much wanted him to just retire and join the coaching staff. He has played absolutely fantastic, overall, this year. Kudos to him.

    • I also was one that wanted B.C. gone. I said it before. I’ll say it again. I was wrong. Totally agree John Ling.

      • BC was excellent again. Chicago really never threatened. I know the Fire aren’t world beaters, but did you ever for a moment think they’d be winning that game last night?

        That starting lineup, with Nogueira in one of the two CM spots, is good enough to compete with most teams most nights. Upgrade with a starting quality fullback and figure out a #1 goalie for next season, and there’s reason to believe that next year can be better than the last…

      • Stop. You know know with this front office it’s always a Long December.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        When you don’t talk about Brian Carroll… you know he had a good game. I don’t think mentioned him once last night. He was very good. Him and Lahoud did their jobs masterfully.

    • we called for the heads of carroll and fabinho and they proved their merit this season.
      ray was getting some criticism recently but he shut down his men last night too.
      love the effort.

    • 100% Agree –
      Is it possible he is the “Comeback Player of The Year”? Like Comeback from the dead player of the year… without him this season, it’s hard to imagine how much worse our midfield would have been.

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