Union match reports

U.S. Open Cup final match report: Houston Dynamo 3-0 Philadelphia Union

Photo: Peter Andrews

Third time was far from the charm.

Philadelphia Union became the first MLS team to lose three U.S. Open Cup finals, delivering a toothless performance against Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium. Mauro Manotas picked up a first-half brace, and a second-half own goal by Auston Trusty added gloss to the storyline.

After trusting the reserves to grit out a 2-0 win over Sporting Kansas City on Sunday, Jim Curtin brought back his starters for the cup final. Cory Burke started up top with C.J. Sapong and Fafa Picault on either side, while Borek Dockal joined Alejandro Bedoya and Haris Medunjanin in midfield. Jack Elliott partnered with iron man Auston Trusty in defense with outside backs Ray Gaddis and Keegan Rosenberry. Andre Blake recovered from illness to get the start in goal.

Ilsinho couldn’t make the bench due to an injury, so reigning MLS Player of the Week Jay Simpson joined David Accam as the attacking options off the bench.

It took just four minutes for the Union to fall behind. After a Picault goal was correctly ruled out for offside, the Dynamo quickly went the length of the pitch, where Alberth Elis crossed to the middle of the box. Both Blake and Elliott went for the ball and missed, leaving Mauro Manotas to head in unmarked from the edge of the six-yard box. The army of traveling supporters were temporarily silenced.

The Union settled into a dominant spell, controlling the ball and working it into dangerous areas.. They benefitted from a physical Dynamo game plan that saw the home side whistled for 8 fouls in the first 24 minutes. However, the Union could not muster dangerous end product from their advantages, and they paid the price.

Against the run of play, Manotas struck again. He sprinted directly at the Union defense and glided past both Trusty and Elliott before rifling a left-footed shot at goal. Blake got down and got a touch, but he could only push it to the inside of the post. Streamers rained down on the pitch as Manotas celebrated his brace and the Union stared at a mountain to climb.

Neither side managed much in the remainder of the half, with the shellshocked Union unable to mount sustained pressure. Dynamo center back Philippe Senderos labored through the half and ultimately made way for Kevin Garcia in the 41st minute.

The Dynamo came out strong in the second half, and Elis nearly created his third goal of the night. Getting past Ray Gaddis to the touchline, his cross found Romell Quioto in a dangerous spot. Rosenberry, though, got his face between Quioto’s header and the goal to keep the Union’s deficit to 2.

Philadelphia barely troubled the Dynamo for the next 15 minutes, and before Curtin could shuffle his deck the Dynamo put the game on ice. A surging counterattack left the Union backline scrambling, and Quioto fired one from the corner of the box that forced Blake to lay out. Attempting to clear the rebound, Trusty blasted it directly into his own net from close range. The Homegrown defender put his head in his hands, bereft, as the Dynamo celebrated their healthy lead.

At that point, Curtin substituted Simpson for the ineffective Burke, but it was too late to change the Union’s fate.

It was pure heartbreak as the final whistle blew and “All I Do Is Win” echoed over the stadium loudspeaker.

With the loss, the Union watched a Western Conference team lift the U.S. Open Cup for the third time in five years. They must now regroup and seek redemption in the league, where they face Columbus Crew on Saturday in Columbus. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.

Three Points
  • HeartbreakThree U.S. Open Cup finals in five years. Three losses. Each painful in their own way.
  • Backline breakdown. The Union’s defense had one of their worst games of the year at the worst possible time. Trusty and Elliott were each at fault on multiple goals, and Gaddis spent his entire evening getting torched by Alberth Elis.
  • Passive management. Facing a two-goal lead on the road, Jim Curtin sat on his subs and did nothing to change his ineffective side. By the time he did, it was far too late.


Philadelphia Union

Andre Blake, Ray Gaddis, Jack Elliott, Auston Trusty, Keegan Rosenberry, Alejandro Bedoya, Haris Medunjanin (Derrick Jones 89′), Borek Dockal (David Accam 78′), Fafa Picault, C.J. Sapong, Cory Burke (Jay Simpson 68′)
Unused Subs: John McCarthy, Fabinho, Mark McKenzie, Warren Creavalle

Houston Dynamo

Joe Willis, DaMarcus Beasley, Philippe Senderos (Kevin Garcia 41′), Alejandro Fuenmayor, Andrew Wenger, Juan David Cabezas, Oscar Boniek Garcia (Darwin Ceren 78′), Tomas Martinez, Romell Quioto (Memo Rodriguez 83′), Alberth Elis, Mauro Manotas
Unused Subs: Chris Seitz, A.J. DeLaGarza, Arturo Alvarez, Eric Bird

Scoring summary

HOU: Mauro Manotas — 4′ (Alberth Elis)
HOU: Mauro Manotas — 25′ (Alberth Elis)
HOU: Auston Trusty (OG) — 61′

Disciplinary summary

PHI: Borek Dockal — 51′ (unsporting behavior)
HOU: Tomas Martinez — 53′ (persistent infringement)
HOU: Mauro Menotas — 61′ (not retreating)
HOU: Oscar Boniek Garcia — 69′ (unsporting behavior)


Houston Dynamo Philadelphia Union
9 Shots 19
5 Shots on Target 5
3 Shots off Target 7
1 Blocked Shots 7
2 Corner Kicks 7
6 Crosses 22
1 Offsides 6
22 Fouls 11
3 Yellow Cards 1
0 Red Cards 0
294 Total Passes 440
73% Passing Accuracy 84%
39.1% Possession 60.9%
50 Duels Won 53
48.5% Duels Won % 51.5%
11 Tackles Won 7
5 Saves 3
20 Clearances 7


  1. Horrible match pretty much all around. Plenty of individual blame to go around. Obviously we lack the players needed overall, but Houston don’t have huge stars either.
    Number 1 problem, Jim Curtin. No energy to start the game. No answer to the first goal. No change after the second. Same thing to start the second half. Too late on both subs. CJ didnt slide up until it was too late. No urgency until 20 mins left.
    We will ultimately go nowhere with him as manager. Period.

    • 1st part is wrong.
      This is our best team ever.
      But u r right.
      Our coach is a coward.
      N the problem.
      Even Adam Cann can’t help him.

    • ^ Truth

    • I mean we looked like the better team the whole first half, just didn’t get the ball to fall. Unlucky that Fafa played the offsides because CJ was right there and he was onside. Looked like the Union were expecting the ref to hold up play after to at least see if VAR should be used but instead let Houston play fast while the Union were switched off.
      Also, Houston’s front 3 are without a doubt star caliber players in this league, look at their stats.

      • I don’t think VAR is used in the open cup.

      • Your are right Andy it is not.

      • Thanks for the correction, so that explanation is out the window, although that is probably what they are used to since most games do have. And to be clear it’s not an excuse because they should have been turned on anyway, but we are all only human. What a switch of fortunes that turned out to be.

  2. So disappointing….

  3. If any player is rated above a 2 for that, it is just plain wrong. And that’s not just the negadelphia speaking, it is the bar they set for themselves this year. Arguably the hottest team in the league coming into the game and then…just terrible.

  4. The single most disgusting part you ask?
    Down 2-0 in a final in the 40th minute of a game you have played like: Shemp, Curly, Mo and Larry— Keegan bends over and offers a hand and pleasant smile to a guy he just fouled….
    flat footed
    fear based soccer.
    That’s what you brought tonight?
    Disappointed doesn’t even come close. You know what comes close?
    My phrase.
    I coined it.
    So Union.

    • Why so harsh on Keagan? Moment before that he watched Senderos leave the field with a lil that said his career was at an end. Tough to watch.
      Thought key moment was fafa’s reaction after offside and subsequent houston goal. He literally ran all over the field like he personally needed to do penance. Heart in right place but his body wasn’t and you could tell formation totally lost at that point. And before second goal the set play on free kick, complete lack of communication and breakdown as no one knew where to line up.
      Let’s see how they look October 6th and 18th with rest. I think they go a little deeper in playoffs.
      Have some faith, el P.

  5. #wearethebuffalobills

  6. Everyone from the manager on down decided to have their worst match on the same day. I honestly can’t say anyone had a good match.
    I think Sapong on the right side should be over after this match. He really hasn’t given enough over there. But I guess the only choice right now is Herbers and he probably won’t be a huge upgrade.
    Agree Curtin’s subs came too late. Should have been anywhere from the 55th to 60th minute. Why he had Fafa up top with Simpson underneath instead of under Sapong I don’t get. But at that point it’s nit picking.
    Dockal hasn’t looked right since the injury. He still gives it his all, he’s just a bit off right now.
    So another loss in a cup final. Can Curtin really survive this?

  7. OneManWolfpack says:

    Here’s my thoughts… a stream of conscious, if you will, so sorry if it’s all over the place:
    I’m not a Curtin guy and I don’t know how I feel about him right now. Agreed he can’t adjust. His subs are average and don’t usually impact the game and are often too late. But I put tonight on the players more than Curtin. The first goal was embarrassing. Blake, Trusty, Gaddis… all slow and watched that play happen. The Union then proceeded to take no lessons from the Montreal beating they took and played right into the hands of a counter attacking team… EXACTLY like they did against the Impact. Sure it’s Jim’s job to “coach them out of the that”, but I have to believe that was preached pre-game, during the game, etc. Now if it wasn’t… then bye-bye Jim. All in all this was just so, so bad on EVERY level. They are the better team and they just got bossed in a Final they were favored in. God damn Andrew Wenger and the Houston Dynamo are in the Champions League. If that’s not SO UNION… I don’t know what is.
    BUT, I also think it’s valid to question that Curtin can’t get it done and is limited. Three Finals losses, a playoff loss, and unless they completely shit out, at least another shot at the playoffs – result pending – but I all think we know it ain’t ending in MLS Cup or even an East Final. Dude is all homegrown and a nice guy, but he’s done all he can do. I think it would be time to move on and try a different voice.
    Ultimately I do think he should go, but whatever.
    As for the game… there really isn’t much else to say that hasn’t been said. I just don’t understand the lack of energy, focus, etc. they did nothing… ALL NIGHT LONG. No runs. No passes. Barely any hustle. Looked slow all night. How can that be? Now you have Columbus in Columbus… yeah they got back up after getting smacked by Montreal to get two amazing wins but this loss is different. They got destroyed in every aspect in a Cup Final they had lost two previous times. This is a crushing, sad, infuriating loss. Hope is a deadly thing. I really thought they were gonna do it. Like actually thought it. Wow.
    Great showing by the fans who made the trip. You guys and gals deserved better. At least you showed up.

  8. I’m no soccer genius like Adam Cann (next coach? Current coach?) or anything but if I’m down 2-0 60th…70th minute… I def take off a full back right?!?!?
    Y would I finish with both????? I’m already losing.?!???!!!!!

  9. But they set another negative record, “the first MLS team to lose three U.S. Open Cup finals.”

  10. The entire Union existence encapsulated in one play — Austin Trusty burying a shot into his own goal. Ruthlessly clinical self sabotage. Where was the team that dominated KC on Sunday? We would have been better off had the crew that shot all the hype videos lined up tonight. Shockingly poor performance, even for a team that has made choking one of its trademarks. I’m not even angry about it, because it’s just so typical. So, so Union.

  11. The only thing I could “blame” Curtin for is inserting Trusty into the lineup for the evening, but of course we all would have done that.
    The only other thing that could have saved that game was to take Trusty out after the first goal, because he started awful and was getting worse. None of us would have expected that kind of performance from him, he’s never had a game even remotely that bad.
    The kid was soley responsible for those last two goals at least and at least culpable for the first, plus he could have easily been responsible for at least two more.
    Hope this makes him stronger on the big stages in the future rather than weaker. That kind of night can mess with a kid’s head for a very long time.

    • I actually give Trusty a LOT of credit for something he did after the game. After having his worst game as a pro and looking clearly dejected, he was the only Union player to walk over to the section where the travelling supporters were sitting and give us a wave. We cheered him back (understanding that everyone has an off night) but it took a lot of courage for him to come over, especially when the only other player who did anything to acknowledge us was Ale who came a little ways, gave a wave, and turned away.

      The fact that Austin did that despite the game he had showed maturity beyond his years and I think he is the type who will bounce back.

      • That’s nice, Trusty came and said “Thanks” and so he is forgiven for crapping all over the field all night.

        By that logic, Jim Curtin shakes my hand after every game so no blame can be cast upon him ever.

      • Because it’s impossible to give credit for one things while acknowledging another? The world isn’t black and white.

      • Thank you for sharing that, Andy. Good story and I agree, shows maturity in face of loss.
        Like Keagan giving hand up to Houston player. Not being an ass doesn’t mean you aren’t aggressive enough. Next we will be hearing about trusty and rosenberry posting stuff not soccer related on their Instagram or Twitter and how that indicates they aren’t good enough to play soccer because their mind isn’t on game 24\7.
        UnionVille who recognizes players are human not robots

      • el Pachyderm says:

        smoooooth someones gotta be the bastard here.

      • +1.

        I too was there, and thought it was class that he came over and acknowledged us. He knew he had a bad night – you could tell from his body language -and he knew there was a chance he could be boo’ed, and yet he still came over.

  12. Billsadelphia. Losing the USOC finals is now a record and legacy. Massive choke against a currently lowly and predictable Houston.

    A past two time MLS Cup winner playing at home in their first USOC final, the stadium had plenty of open seats. With fans like that, maybe they should have moved here instead.

    The Union obviously aren’t MLS Cup or Supporters’ Shield quality, but this USOC final they should have won given the Union’s playoff level talent and that opponent. It’s an inexcusable personal failure by all of them and insult to the fans from the team performance to the official turd polish on the team’s Twitter account.

  13. I forgive Trusty for his terrible match because he’s been so strong all year. Nobody can be good all the time.

    I am having a lot more trouble forgiving Jim Curtin for refusing to shift tactics, refusing to change formation, and making subs way too late. The players collectively sh*t the bed, and Curtin did too.

    But if you think this is So Union, just wait: the team will probably be so devastated by this loss that they will screw up the rest of the MLS season too. Now THAT would truly be So Union.

  14. The only positive from that display was that nobody got hurt. A cynic would say that they played like they were saving their effort for the rest of the season, but I think that the quick reversal from the offside goal to being down one was disorienting and the boys never recovered. I hope to see them take out their frustration on their next series of regular season opponents.

  15. I’m sad. Wanted something to hang my hat on as a fan since the beginning, still rocking gear without the Bimbo.
    We played badly. Tough that everyone new the Houston counterattack would expose us and it still did.
    Don’t blame Curtin. Look at the bench. Not like you can sub players you know are definitely worse and hope for an upgrade in performance.
    Good experience for our guys. They stepped down for the big game. Maybe they can do the opposite come playoffs.

  16. They were just flat! No teeth. I think Curtin did nothing to help. Trusts and the back line were off.. his own goal was not the nail in the coffin. The first one was.

  17. One criticism of Curtin that I have not seen… he should have known that Houston, the lesser team, would come out aggressive AND fouling. And he should have known that the ref was going to swallow his whistle and hold back on yellows (he obviously did). So why wouldn’t the Onion come out doing the exact same thing? Play rubgy… it worked for Houston and countless other underdogs. Curtin should have seen that coming from a mile away.

    • The persistent fouling in MLS bugs me more than a little bit. So many times you’ll see a player shoulder tackle and go 100% for the player instead of the ball — kid of shit that would almost always be whistled in Europe.

    • Curtin did a lot else wrong. Very poor planning on his part. The team just was not ready and thought it was going to be easy-peasy. Terribly display for all those who travelled to Houston or went to the Piazza.

  18. People pointing out Trusty only – I’m sorry but did Elliot or Gaddis not have shit games too?

    • el Pachyderm says:

      Failure….. at every station of the cross we bear.

      • Truth.
        But I double check this morning and the sun did come up (Somewhere, not around here exactly). Life continued.
        SO…Back to our previously scheduled (and rather positve) MLS season, already in progress.

  19. Justin Mennig says:

    We looked sloppy and pathetic. Trusty threw the game away with his horrendous stab. We went for the long ball all night even though it was clear that it wasn’t there. The corners were awful. The only times we looked dangerous were out times that we played the flow game. We built off of our midfielders. We attacked the sides and then played in crosses. They weren’t able to shut that down, we just weren’t able to score. We missed wide open chances, and we looked like we were way out of our comfort zone, despite being the better team. Dockal is probably gone after the phenomenal year he’s had, and we’re going to miss him sorely. We’re either coming out of this game mad or we’re going to crash and burn like the Phillies.

  20. We will never compete in the MLS playoffs in any year if Curtin is the head coach. I have been saying this since he started. He should not be coaching anything over division 3 soccer.

    • So bold. We will never compete because we just lost a final…

      • Curtin was an old boy hire from the Philly inner circle just like Albright is to a lesser extent. my main point is he he is too conservative and not willing to make changes in tactics or personnel until it is too late to win the game. it is a pattern I have seen since he became head coach.

  21. I see the exchange between The Truth and A. seems to have been removed.
    If this is the case. Very well done.
    Red Card to The Truth. Good job A.

  22. Book of The Cup that is Open 3:9-26 says:

    And lo… the trusted one did falter at his post, yet his misdeed was not what failed the unionites.

    T’was the curtain maker who veiled thine eyes with false hopes of competency and spawned a veritable plague of the yips upon the Unionites which was their undoing.

    For faith in a curtain shall always block thy vision of the world.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      So, so good.
      You know, the day after what really burns me up isn’t so much that they lost… it’s about how they just didn’t show up AT ALL – for what was an extremely winnable game. Losing is one thing… to lose like that last night, on that stage, to that team… is really something else. Takes the “it’s so Union” line to new and lowly depths.

      • Union Platitudes 18:9-27 says:

        Thine immortal incantations of the Unionites is one that shall stand indelible in time immemorial.

        “That’s so Union.”

        “T’was a tale of two shit halves that maketh a shit sandwich whole”


        These are thy mantras. Though not always present, they shall always be prescient in thy hearts of the Union.

      • Simply put. They were not properly prepared for the game. They were not motivated to play. What game plan there was, was executed poorly. While there are eleven players at fault for this debacle, there is one person whose failures doomed this team from the outset. The Curtin must close.

  23. In trashing the Union people seem to be forgetting that this was a game in tough conditions in the middle of a brutal stretch for the team. Even though most of these players were rested Sunday, it was still a team that had to fly across the country a week ago and then flew halfway across this week. And then they had to play on a hot and very humid night against a team who has not had the same amount of travel. While the Union have markedly improved this season, they are still not an elite team like Seattle and SKC were when they came to Talen and won (and neither of those were easy wins for them). If anyone read Chris Sherman’s simulations this week, the Union were only given about a 1 in 3 chance winning. So it’s not as though this was a huge upset.
    People are saying they didn’t show up, but 19 shots says otherwise. Getting fouled 22 times says otherwise. Last night wasn’t their night, but unlike some other games (i.e. Montreal) this team did show up to play.
    Was I disappointed with the result? Yes. Am I sorry I came down here (getting ready to fly home as I write this)? ABSOLUTELY NOT. I would do it again in a heartbeat. Sooner or later, this team is going to win won of these.

    • Yeah. I think the Union actually looked like the better team overall this game, especially in the first half.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      I think the loss encapsulated the problem with Curtin as the leader. He talks about how the Open Cup means so much and I believe him, but how can you have your team lay an egg like this?!? How can you not make changes sooner? Or change formation sooner? Take a fullback off he field!! Go nuts!! … 3-0, 4-0, 5-0, are all the same result. It’s like he turns to stone. He doesn’t inspire. He doesn’t impact the game (often enough) with a sub or formation change. I just think with everything at stake last night, it’s just so, so unacceptable and I won’t accept any excuse for how they played… not travel… not weather… nothing. Losing is one thing. Losing like that is a disgrace. They impressed the shit out of me when they won vs Seattle and SKC… so hopefully they can do it again vs Columbus. I just think Curtin has come to the end of what he can do for this team.

    • Ok so if the Union’s schedule was so tough, then why weren’t the players rested more? Why isn’t there more squad rotation? Why are our 3 starting 30+ year old midfielders starting every game of a 3 game in 8 night stretch consistently throughout the season? This should be planned for.
      A. all I can say is does it really matter if the Union looked the better team when Houston scored the two goals and was gifted a third? That’s trying for a moral victory to me, and that’s just about useless.
      OMW, Curtin definitely waited too long for the subs. and basically choked. You are two goals down starting the half, you can not wait till the 64th minute after a third goal was scored to make a change. The tide had turned to Houston by the 58th minute and it was clear changes needed to be made. Curtin didn’t.

      • Because sometimes you win when you shouldn’t and sometimes you lose when you shouldn’t. The goal is to be consistently better and you should be in a good spot. Sometimes you lose though, even in important games. I feel like we came out trying to take it too them in the beginning of the game and honestly succeeded at it but couldn’t get a goal. I mean if Fafa stays onside in the beginning we are up 1-0 and it’s a totally different game. It’s a crushing loss no doubt and no one players had a good game, but I just feel like our level of play is being inaccurately described.
        At least the season isn’t over yet like the past open cup final losses.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        Agreed All4U. He often has that look of, “the guys on the field will turn it around… I’ll just do nothing.” He had it last night. He is not a demonstrative guy by nature and that’s fine… but he showed nothing at all. If you’re shocked fine… we were all shocked… but you’re the only one who can do something about it. Halftime there should have been one sub, at least. And 10 mins later there should have been another. It’s a Final. There is no moral victory

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        A. I am tired of making excuses for losing. This is the best team we have ever had. We had to win that Cup last night. We were better, we were favored. It was the Union of the beginning of the season – where they created a ton of chances and couldn’t score. The other thing that drives me nuts, is that you just played Montreal who kicked your ass because they caught you on the counter all night long… yet you tried to ram the ball through the middle and turned the ball over multiple times in spots that benefit a counter attacking team. How could have not learned from that Montreal game? The line, “sometimes you lose when you should win”… should be tattooed on every Union fan, player, and FO member. I am whining a bit sure, that we lost, but it’s exhausting. Fire Curtin. Bring a better tactician in here who can maximize the resources we have – which are more limited than the Atalanta’s, NYCFC’s, etc. The game was 50/50 on Curtin and the players. But that’s where a good manager makes adjustments and gives their team a better chance.

      • We lost a cup final. We are still in great playoff shape. Let’s see how the season plays out. Honestly it can be argued that Curtin is overall getting a lot out of the talent we have on this team. We are in 5th with a shot at 3rd. Most people were hoping to be in 6th place this year.

  24. Eh. Back to status quo.

  25. shout out to anyone who left their house for this match. major props to the traveling fans. most of them probably sat through the first two disappointing finals. the watch party at the piazza started great but the party was a literal and figurative washout. good effort by the Union to put that on. hopefully they’ll do it again for an away playoff match.

    there’s passion here still.

  26. I’m not gonna over-react to one game …. but I will react to multiple games – Ray Gaddis’ defending has been sub-par at best. It’s not good enough. His ability to run down a defender from behind after he turns it over is like walking through a downpour to buy an umbrella – if you hadn’t left the house you wouldn’t need the umbrella. Neither Ray nor Fabinho is solid enough right now at the position, so it’s a pick-your-poison situation, but something needs to be done in the offseason.

    • As soon as Ray goes against someone with speed he is toast. His defending is average but his speed allows him to make up for it against most players.

  27. Two counter pressing clubs have flamed the Union and exposed our back four twice in a few weeks…….I recall a few commenters saying….we’ll be fine, they don’t have a Piatti on the counter……….haha! No, they had three!!!!! Jim, you knew what that were going to do……..and you knew what happened in Montreal…….yet, at this level…….you didn’t change anything……no wrinkle, no curveball……I’m sure Houston watched the Montreal match………

  28. And for all the supporters who want the moral victory that “we played better football”……..no we didn’t, this game at this level is all about winning hardware……that’s it. We have no hardware. You sound like that parent at U-10s who when asked how they did this weekend, they respond with something like……..”well, we lost 4-0…..but all’s the other team did was play route one….we played better possession footy…..so, they played well and were the better team. Yeah, um………….OK? ( Like Slater in Dazed in Confused when he asks the kid if he’s cool or not?)

  29. Remember . the Union passed on Brandon Vincent . Curtin picked a center back who has not played in a year. Vincent has started off back for the. Past 2 years for CHICAGO. We also passed on Walker Zimmerman

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


%d bloggers like this: