Alejandro Bedoya of the Philadelphia Union celebrates his goal against Orlando City in the 2018 US Open Cup Quarterfinals. Photo: Greg Carroccio, Philadelphia Union
Alejandro Bedoya scored in the fourth minute, and that is all it took for the Philadelphia Union to sneak past Orlando City SC in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup Quarterfinals for a 1-0 victory. With the win, the Union advance to the Semifinals for the fourth time in the club’s seven US Open Cup appearances.
The Union capitalized on some early pressure when Borek Dockal hit a short corner to Haris Medunjanin. The Bosnian midfielder crossed into the box, and Mark McKenzie put it on net. After Earl Edwards Jr. made the initial save, Bedoya headed in the rebound to give his team the lead.
“[Bedoya] has been playing at his highest level,” said Union head coach Jim Curtin. “He is a professional and leader as a captain. He does everything that does not show up on the stat sheet… He is playing exceptionally well.”
It was the second-fastest US Open Cup goal in Philadelphia team history, falling just short of Walter Restrepo’s 3rd minute goal in the 2012 Quarterfinals against the Harrisburg City Islanders (now Penn FC).
From that point, both teams squandered chances. Will Johnson had two great opportunities, hitting a long shot high in the 13th minute, then a point-blank header was tipped over the bar by Union goalie Andre Blake in the 37th minute.
Philadelphia also missed out on some opportunities. In total, the home side put six of its nine shots on targets, yet scoring just once. Orlando had three shots on goal with seven total shots, none of which found the back of the net.
“The first 45 was excellent. We had Orlando pinned back quite a bit,” Curtin said.
In the second half, neither team could seem to get its footing. Numerous giveaways led to a disjointed pace to the game. Despite sloppy passing, the Union did get more good shots off, including a Cory Burke shot saved in the 52nd, and a Bedoya laser parried away in the 90th.
Orlando City suffered from the same problem, giving the ball away just when it would move forward. Then, it struggled to get the ball back when Philadelphia wasted time in the corners in the late stages of the game.
“We gave them a bit of life to start the second half,” Curtin said. “We were organized, but [we were] not our sharpest in front of the goal. We knew that our fitness would play a big role over the course of 90 minutes.
“The last 10 minutes we looked like ourselves again, making them run and chase. It wasn’t our best night, but to win 1-0 and grind with a young back line is important.”
The win pushed the Union’s Open Cup unbeaten streak to 13 games (8-0-5, 2-3 PKs), the second-longest in the Modern Era. (NOTE: Matches that end in penalty kicks are officially listed as draws.) It was the first time Philadelphia and Orlando have met in this competition.
With the win, the Union make the Semifinals for the first time since falling in consecutive Open Cup Finals in 2014 and 2015. Orlando still has not been able to advance past the Quarterfinals, losing at that stage three times.