While not heavily publicized due to its recent lack of television exposure, the U.S. Open Cup maintains a cult following among some U.S. soccer fans, and tonight the Philadelphia Union have a chance to win it on national television. Despite their consistent MLS regular season ills, the Union have had a run of success in the USOC with this being their second straight final and third time in four seasons they at least reached the semi-finals of the ever-expanding tournament.
The Philadelphia Union have made it to the Final, but on the whole they have had to overcome numerous hurdles to make it this far in the USOC. Though they have advanced four times, in four USOC matches the Union have only managed a goal differential of plus two. Two penalty shootout victories, including one against USL side Rochester Rhinos, and two one-goal victories have seen the Union through. The Union are in the Final, and that's what matters, but the Union should consider themselves fortunate to be in the position they are and approach this match with the mindset of playing with house money.
For Sporting Kansas City, the story is entirely different. If the Union have seen their flare of the dramatic throughout the course of the tournament, Sporting have seen the opposite. After needing a 70th minute goal to edge out USL side Saint Louis FC, SKC have found themselves steamrolling throughout the tournament beating three MLS sides each by two goals or more, including a 6-2 thumping of FC Dallas. Granted though, all those matches were at home and this is SKC's first 2015 USOC match on the road. Whether or not it makes any difference is something that can only be answered tonight.
Kickoff: 7:00 PM ET
Venue: PPL Park, Chester, PA
Television: ESPN2 and Univision Deportes
Online streaming: WatchESPN