Walter Restrepo of the Philadelphia Union scores a goal against the Harrisburg City Islanders in the 2016 US Open Cup. Photo: Charlie Flowe
The Philadelphia Union defeated the Harrisburg City Islanders in a thrilling US Open Cup Fourth Round match on Wednesday.
A few minutes after the Union saw their 2-0 lead disappear thanks to a Bobby Warsaw equalizer in the 90th minute, Roland Alberg scored on a free kick in stoppage time to give Philly a 3-2 win.
The Union, who have been the US Open Cup finalist the last two years were hosting their former affiliated club to open the tournament for them.
Philadelphia got on the board early when Walter Restrepo collected a rebound in front of the net from a shot from Vincent Nogueira and gave the Union the early 1-0 lead in the 3rd minute. It was his Union debut and scored what was the fastest US Open Cup goal in Union franchise history.
Both sides had numerous attempts at scoring. The Union used build up combinations from Restrepo, Ilsinho, and Roland Alberg to create chances for the home team. Harrisburg used set pieces from corners to get their opportunities to get on their scoreboard.
The Union got on the scoreboard again right before halftime, when Fabien Herbers sent a clean pass to Alberg to give Philadelphia a 2-0 lead.
The second half saw the Islanders control most of the half. And after numerous chances, Harrisburg got their breakthrough in the 78th minute. Second half substitute Craig Foster came into the game and dribbled his way into the box, turned and shot the ball. Union goalkeeper John McCarthy was screened by some traffic in front of the net and didn’t see it coming as it slowly rolled into the back of the net.
The pace of the game picked up in the final 10 minutes as the City Islanders fought for the equalizer. The physicality also picked up as Harrisburg’s Cardel Bendow and Shane Johnson received yellow cards in the 80th and 83rd minute respectively. Then Harrisburg’s Jose Barril was given a red card after a hard tackle to Philadelphia’s Leo Fernandes.
Then, in the 90th minute, City Islander captain Bobby Warsaw collected a rebound in the box, dribbled into the box and toe-poked a shot past McCarthy to tie the game.
However, three minutes into stoppage time, after a foul just outside the box, Alberg got his second of the match when he sent the free kick into the top corner to extend the Union’s unbeaten streak to six games, dating back to last season.
“Nothing surprises me, ever,” said Union head coach Jim Curtin. “You’ve seen a lot, I’d like to think that we’re past the craziness, some of the games that have been here, so again, it started to creep in maybe and we punched it right in the face so it was over with.”