Sebastian Le Toux scored his 12th and 13th US Open Cup goals, tying him for most in the Modern Professional Era (1995-present) in a 2-1 Philadelphia Union victory over the New York Cosmos.
The MLS side struggled mightily against its second-division opponents but managed to pull out the victory after its second-straight game that required extra time.
The Cosmos were riding high after a 3-0 Fourth Round victory over the New York Red Bulls and carried that momentum over to the Fifth Round. The Cosmos had a fair amount of possession in a first half of few chances for either team.
“I knew this was going to be an ugly game where it was about competing and winning second balls and fighting for long balls, it wasn’t going to be about short passes,” Union interim manager Jim Curtain said. “The Cosmos come at you and they put pressure on you – that’s the one thing they really did well.”
The NASL side got its reward in the 56th minute when Danny Szetela found Alessandro Noselli open in the right side of the box. Union keeper Andre Blake rushed out, but Noselli calmly chipped it over him to give his squad a 1-0 lead.
That lead lasted less than a minute, when Le Toux got his 12th Open Cup goal. Andrew Wenger made a dynamic run down the right side of the field, cutting into the box. He crossed the ball across the 6-yard box to Le Toux, who easily knocked it home.
“I like this competition…when I was in Seattle and the USL – it was kind of a competition to show that we a very good team, and two times I finished with I think six goals,” Le Toux said. “We have continuity and are now three games away from the final. It would be great to get the trophy this year.”
After experiencing two goals in one minute, the pace of the game quickly returned to normal, with neither team able to get an edge after 90 minutes. For the second time in the tournament this year, Union were taken to extra time by a lower-division opponent. The Cosmos, who entered their first-ever Open Cup this year, were experiencing their first taste of overtime soccer.
The two halves of extra time could not have been more different. The second half contained as much action as the first half did not. In the 113th minute on a long throw-in by the Union’s Sheanon Williams, Cosmos defender Jimmy Ockford pulled a Union player down in the box. Le Toux stepped up and buried the ensuing penalty kick in the bottom right hand corner. The goal was his 13th in the Open Cup, tying him for most in the Modern Pro Era with David Bulow, Johnny Menyongar, and Jaime Moreno.
“I was very confident and I was glad that it went in, but I’m not worried about the stats,” Le Toux said. “I’m just happy we won tonight.”
Things got wild after the goal in the 119th minute. A scuffle broke out, after which the referee gave Ayoze of the Cosmos and Michael Lahoud of the Union straight red cards. A minute later he showed Ockford red as well — all this after he had already tossed two Cosmos assistant coaches from the sideline.
New York coach Giovanni Savarese said, “The referee ruined the game, and it was very that he put his hand on this game. It’s a shame because our guys worked hard…and it could’ve been a much better game for sure with a better end.”
With the victory, the Union remain undefeated against lower-division sides. Philadelphia will take on the winner of New England-Rochester in the Quarterfinals.
Michael Berton is a freelance writer who is one of TheCup.us’ top USASA reporters. You can follow him on Twitter @MichaelBerton
HIGHLIGHTS: COSMOS AT UNION
POST-GAME: COSMOS REACTION
MATCH REPLAY: NEW YORK COSMOS AT PHILADELPHIA UNION
Philadelphia Union vs. New York Cosmos
PPL Park – Chester, PA
NYC: Alessandro Noselli (Danny Szetela) 56’
PU: Sebastian Le Toux (Andrew Wenger) 57’
PU: Sebastian Le Toux (Penalty Kick) 113’
PU: Andre Blake; Fabinho, Sheanon Williams, Maurice Edu, Raymon Gaddis; Cristian Maidana Michael Lahoud—115’), Brian Carroll, Amobi Okugo, Danny Cruz (Leo Fernandes-60’); Sebastian Le Toux, Andrew Wenger (Antoine Hoppenot-77’)
NYC: Jimmy Maurer; Ayoze, Carlos Mendes, Hunter Freeman, Roversio (Jimmy Ockford-103’); Daniel Szetela, Hagop Chirishian (Jemal Johnson-60’), Joseph Nane (Dane Murphy-38’); Mads Stokkelien, Alessandro Noselli, Sebastian Guenzatti
PU: Brian Carroll (caution—21’)
PU: Danny Cruz (caution—29’)
PU: Fabinho (caution—67’)
NYC: Alessandro Noselli (caution—112’)
NYC: Jimmy Maurer (caution—114’)
NYC: Ayoze (ejection—119’)
PU: Michael Lahoud (ejection—119’)
NYC: Jimmy Ockford (ejection—120’)