For the first time since 1964, a Philadelphia team will compete in back-to-back US Open Cup Final after the Philadelphia Union defeated the Chicago Fire 1-0.
Sebastien Le Toux added to his legendary Open Cup resume with his record 15th career tournament goal, and his fifth game-winner which ties Matthew Delicate’s Modern Era record.
“ has had a heck of a run in this competition,” Union coach Jim Curtin said. “I’m glad took the initiative and took the hit there.”
The hit came in the 74th minute. Cutting in from the right side, Le Toux dribbled along the top of the penalty box, took a hit with his left foot, and placed his shot in the bottom right corner of the net just past the fingers of Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson.
That goal came after numerous Union chances throughout the game. The home side outshot the Fire 11-3.
Curtin, who won two US Open Cup titles as a player with the Fire, said his team controlled the game but were only able to find the back of the net once.
“There are moments of nerves. But defensively we were very good. We like to make it tough.”
Philadelphia had good opportunities from the onset of the match. In the eighth minute, Cristian Maidana’s shot was saved by Johnson – one of several great chances for the Union in the half. Maidana also hit a post in the 24th minute, and Johnson made a point-blank save on Brian Carroll a few minutes later.
Chicago encountered some bad luck in the first half as well. Making his first appearance for the Fire, Gilberto had to exit the match with a thigh contusion, forcing Chicago to make its first substitution in the 21st minute.
The four-time Open Cup champions had their best chances come after the Union got the go-ahead goal. The most spectacular chance coming when Kennedy Igboananike’s bicycle kick had to be saved by Union keeper John McCarthy.
But Chicago could not find an equalizer, and the Union will be heading to their second championship game in a row. Last season, Philadelphia hosted the Seattle Sounders, falling 3-1 after extra time.
The Union will now host the 102nd edition of the US Open Cup Final at PPL Park on Sept. 30.
Curtin said, “ is everything. It’s why you play. It’s forever. The fans deserve it, and the club deserves it. We’re ready to take that next step.”
POSTGAME: SEBASTIEN LE TOUX, PHILADELPHIA UNION
POSTGAME: JIM CURTIN, PHILADELPHIA UNION
POSTGAME: PHILLY SOCCER PAGE ANALYSIS
FULL MATCH REPLAY: CHICAGO FIRE AT PHILADELPHIA UNION