Dangerous Philadelphia Union rookie Antoine Hoppenot proved to be the difference in a tense match, as his extra time goal propelled the visitors to a 2-1 Fourth Round win over host DC United to advance to the Quarterfinals of the US Open Cup.
With the win, the Union will take on USL Pro noisemakers Harrisburg City Islanders, who pulled off another MLS upset by taking down the New York Red Bulls 3-1 in extra time.
“It’s good we play at home, but in the latest edition of the Cup, there have been a lot of surprises,” said Union coach Peter Nowak. “Harrisburg beat New England and now they beat New York. It’s still a very important game for us to move forward in this tournament, especially playing at home.”
Hoppenot came on in the second half and scored in the second minute of extra time after United defender Emiliano Dudar was unable to clear Freddy Adu’s through ball. Hoppenot came upon the loose ball and finished past United goalkeeper Bill Hamid.
“That’s why I have so many gray hairs,” Nowak said. “He was trying very hard, he stretched defenders and he the speed that allowed him to get behind them and he got rewarded for it.”
United was unable to find an equalizer, and the feisty match closed in a contentious manner with Union defender Carlos Valdes and United defender Brandon McDonald both sent off with red cards in the 112th minute in a match that also featured five yellow cards–three for Philadelphia and two for United.
United coach Ben Olsen said his team forgot about some of the little things that had brought it to first place in MLS’s Eastern Conference.
Olsen, though disappointed yet again in the refereeing in the U.S. Open Cup, said they weren’t to blame for the loss.“I’ll look at myself first and our staff first, but we have to realize that that’s not good enough,” said United coach Ben Olsen of his team’s effort. “Too many guys were on their own page today. We were cute all over the field. We thought it was going to be enough to step out here and beat a team because they were a little down on their luck. Maybe it’s a good thing because this really does show us that we’re not as good as we think we are.”
“It was a typical Open Cup game,” Olsen said. “The referees were lousy. They always are, for both teams. Every Open Cup game, it just turns into an absolute circus. I don’t know if that needs to be addressed or not. Maybe that’s the fun of the Open Cup–that it’s an absolute zoo every game. It gets old.
“Believe me, I’m not blaming the referees tonight, but it doesn’t help. At the end of the day, this game is a perfect reminder of what we can’t do, the attitude we can’t come to a game with.”
The Union opened the scoring in first half stoppage time on a goal from former United midfielder Brian Carroll, whose shot from 18 yards deflected into the net past Hamid for a 1-0 lead, giving the Sons of Ben contingent making the trip to Maryland something to celebrate.
However, United tied the match in the waning moments before halftime, as Andy Najar right-sided cross to the far post found Nick DeLeon, who headed the ball back across the face of goal for Josh Wolff to finish with a header of his own to tie the match, giving United supporters something to cheer about as well.
“We didn’t start particularly well and we didn’t put together a lot of good soccer in the first half,” Wolff said. “Rightfully so, we went down 1-0, but we were able to get right back into it after that, feeling probably better than we should’ve felt.”
United, however, were not able to finish in the final third, however, and Olsen said there is one silver lining to the loss for a team that currently is in first place in MLS’s Eastern Conference .
“It’s a good wakeup call,” Olsen said. “We’re not as good as we think we are.”
Philadelphia will now host the City Islanders, a Union affiliate, at PPL Park June 26.
“Obviously we’re disappointed,” said United midfielder Perry Kitchen. “Credit to Philadelphia, they came out to play. We just didn’t match their intensity.”
DC United 1:2 AET Philadelphia Union
Maryland Sportsplex – Germantown, MD
PHL: Brian Carroll (Unassisted) ‘46+
DC: Josh Wolff (Nick DeLeon) ‘47+
PHL: Antoine Hoppenot (Freddy Adu) ‘93
DC: McDonald Yellow ‘13
DC: Dudar Yellow ‘27
PHI: Valdes Yellow ‘55
PHI: Martinez Yellow ‘64
PHI: M. Farfan Yellow ‘82
DC: McDonald Red ‘112
PHI: Valdes Red ‘112