Game: Philadelphia Union vs. Harrisburg City Islanders
Date: Wednesday, June 14th
Time: 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time, 6:30 p.m. Central Time, 4:30 p.m. Pacific Time, 11:30 p.m. UTC
Venue: Talen Energy Stadium (Chester, Pa.)
Streaming: US Soccer will stream the game live
All-time record: The Philadelphia Union have won seven, drawn once, and lost once against the Harrisburg City Islanders. The lone defeat was in a 2012 friendly, and the lone draw was in a 2010 friendly.
What Philadelphia will look like
Look for Jim Curtin to rotate guys from the regular first team. John McCarthy is already the confirmed starter in goal, as Andre Blake is still with the Jamaica National Team. Look for players like Keegan Rosenberry, Giliano Wijnaldum, Roland Alberg, and Jay Simpson to get a good run out and look to make their case for first team minutes on a regular basis. Most interesting will be who plays center back for the Union. Oguchi Onyewu was hurt in the last match against New York City FC, however his eye should have healed by now. Richie Marquez came on and did well, Jack Elliott started and did well, and Josh Yaro came on in his first appearance after being injured all year. The center back pairing may give some indication as to who to expect to play on Sunday against the New York Red Bulls.
What Harrisburg will look like
Hungry. Harrisburg knows the score. They know they’re not expected to pose much of a challenge, but the Union would be wise to not overlook them. This is the U.S. Open Cup after all, and anything can happen. Harrisburg has plenty of talent that has competed in Major League Soccer, with players like Pedro Ribeiro, Aaron Wheeler, and Rasheed Olabiyi on the roster. The City Islanders also have plenty of guys with international experience (Tiago Calvano spent a good portion of his career in Europe) as well as young guys like Cardel Benbow and Mike Olla ready to prove they can play at the same level as the Union.
What to expect
Expect the unexpected. The Union should be able to go out and beat Harrisburg handily. The quality of the roster should ensure that happens. But opponents like Harrisburg can not be overlooked in this tournament. A lot is at stake for HCI - if they’re able to be the last USL team standing, they’ll get $15,000 from US Soccer. This will go a long way for a club who currently plays at the local baseball stadium because their old stadium was so run down it didn’t meet USL standards. The Union on the other hand want a trophy, and this may be their best chance this year of achieving that end. They’ve been to the Final twice, losing after 90 minutes both times. They’re hungry, and the fans are hungry. It should be a tough match between two teams that know each other well.