Porfirio Lopez defends as Brian Carroll runs over to provide help. (Photo courtesy of @Barbcvphilly)
A 5-2 victory over the Harrisburg City Islanders will send the Philadelphia Union to their first ever appearance in the US Open Cup semifinals.
The Union jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead over the City Islanders, who are Philadelphia's USL-PRO affiliate team, in the first half of last night's game. Philadelphia was handed a penalty in the fifth minute of the game after Stephen Basso attempted a diving header clearance inside his own box, but ended up handling the ball.
Freddy Adu stepped up and converted the penalty, while Basso was substituted out of the game - for former Union supplemental draft pick Tom Brandt - because of an injury he suffered during the hand ball play. The City Islanders also were forced to use another substitution because of an injury in the first half when Bilal Duckett came off for Colin Zizzi.
Jack McInerney followed up Adu's penalty kick and scored his third goal in as many games after intercepting a poor back header by Harrisburg and calmly slotted home his shot. Lionard Pajoy would score the team's third goal in the 29th minute of the game after Gabriel Farfan found him inside the box on a cross from the left side of the field and the Colombian striker danced through multiple defenders.
The second half turned in favor of Harrisburg as the City Islanders looked set to move toward yet another upset of a Major League Soccer team in the USOC this year. Goals from Brian Ombiji and former Union midfielder Morgan Langley in the 51st and 54 minutes, respectively, put the City Islanders quickly back into the game.
John Hackworth, coaching the Union for the third time since he was named interim head coach after Peter Nowak's firing, brought on Antoine Hoppenot for Adu in the 62nd minute and it changed the game for Philadelphia. The former Princeton star was threatening to the Harrisburg defense for the entirety of his 28 minutes in the game.
Philadelphia would later settle down the game and put away the Islanders through Hoppenot and his fellow substitutes Gabriel Gomez (for Michael Lahoud in the 70th minute) and Jimmy McLaughlin (for Lionard Pajoy in the 83rd minute).
Hoppenot won his second penalty in as many games and Pajoy once again converted it, scoring his first ever USOC goal, in the 69th minute to make the match 4-2. Gomez went on to receive a deflected pass from Amobi Okugo and chipped Nick Noble, the Islanders goalkeeper, in the 81st minute for the fifth and final goal for the Union.
The semifinal will be played on PPL Park on July 11 against Sporting Kansas City, who defeated the Dayton Dutch Lions 3-0 in their quarterfinals match up last night. The Union and Kansas City last met on Saturday, July 23 in Chester and Philadelphia defeated the visitors 4-0.
Tickets to the semifinal will be available soon and will cost the same as they did for the quarterfinals, with free parking also continuing on from this past round of the tournament.