It was a night for the goalkeepers, and in the end it was a night for the Revolution. Backup New England keeper Brad Knighton out-dueled Andre Blake in a penalty shootout that eliminated the Union from the U.S. Open Cup following a 1-1 draw. Knighton notched four saves, three in extra time, and then two more during the penalties. Andre Blake was his usual self saving seven shots, many of them save-of-the-week worthy.
The opening 45 was a struggle for the Union as they continued their first half woes, going into the locker room down 1-0. The Union created decent chances but ultimately failed to put a shot on target. The Revolution broke the tie in the 44th minute with a goal from right back Je-Vaughn Watson that was inexcusable. The Union defense (literally) fell asleep on a free kick which was taken quickly by Diego Fagundez straight to an unmarked Watson who had no trouble slotting it past a helpless Blake. At the break Watson told the sideline reporter than he had told Fagundez to kick it quickly because the Union were slow to mark their man on free kicks. It was a frustrating moment that could have been avoided as the defense held tight the rest of the night.
The second half saw the Union push up higher but still the chances were few and far between. A nice flurry of activity after the 60th minute by Ilshino were the Union's highlights of the half and as the clock wound down, the Union clinging to a single shot on frame, it appeared the Revolution would easily kill the game. Enter the combination of Ray Gaddis, Sebastien Le Toux and Fabian Herbers.
In the 90th minute Ray Gaddis led a break down the right side before he sent a tight cross to Le Toux who was holding up a defender in the box. Le Toux chose to send a chip to the darting Herber's who chested it to his right foot and bounced it past a diving Knighton. Another dramatic goal for the Union in a season of stunners.
The first fifteen minutes of extra time saw both keepers exchange highlight reel saves. In the 95th minute Leo Fernandes worked himself to a one-on-one with the Knighton who smothered his decent strike. In the 105th minute Blake made a double save that left all fans with their jaws wide open. A nice run into the box and strike by Andrew Farrell was blocked by Blake, who landed himself outside the frame of the goal. The ball landed at the feet of Kelyn Rowe who quickly struck his shot. Blake had managed to get his hand and forearm inside the frame but that was all he needed as he deflected the ball just enough to Tribbett who cleared the ball.
Both teams went for the win for all 120 minutes despite the cost they might pay this weekend. In the end the game finished 1-1 and penalties decided the outcome.
New England's kicks, with the exception of Scott Caldwell's which missed wide, were all excellent strikes leaving Blake with very little opportunity to be a hero. Ilshino and Herbers made their kicks but strong saves by Knighton denied both Le Toux and CJ Sapong their penalties.
While it's disappointing the Union won't reach their third straight Open Cup Final, they can now focus completely on the league playoff run in front of them. But will this loss come with an addition cost as they play in just three days in Montreal? CJ Sapong, Richie Marquez and Fabinho all played 120 minutes and are in line to start against the Impact.