Union advance to the U.S. Open Cup final with 3-0 victory over Chicago

The Philadelphia Union are going to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup! 

Cory Burke had a brace and C.J. Sapong scored a goal as the Union defeated the Chicago Fire 3-0 in Chester Wednesday night.

Union starting XI: Blake; Gaddis, Trusty, Elliott, Rosenberry; Bedoya, Medujanin; Picault, Dockal (Jones 90’), Accam (Sapong 56’); Burke (Herbers 81’)

Chicago starting XI: Sanchez; Corrales (Ellis 74’), Vincent, Kappelhof, Hasler (Conner 85’); Bronico (Gordon 72’), McCarty; Katai, Schweinsteiger, Edwards; Nikolic

Jim Curtin went with his A team tonight, with the exceptions of the injured Ilsinho and Mark McKenzie, who were replaced by David Accam and Jack Elliott, respectively. Chicago head coach Veljko Paunovic also went with his A team, with the exception being Nicolas Hasler in for the injured Diego Campos.

The first half was pretty uneventful. Both teams were able to push into their final third, but quality chances were few and far between. The best chance the Union had was when a Haris Medujanin free kick hit the corner of the woodwork. The Fire came close when Andre Burke saved a shot taken from the right side of the box by Bastian Schweinsteiger.

The second half was a different story. The Union came out and dominated, keeping the ball in their final third and creating chance after chance. Burke broke the ice in 60th minute. Alejandro Bedoya chipped the ball in the box over a Chicago defender and the ball fell to Burke, who shot it past Chicgo goalkeeper Richard Sanchez.

But the boys in blue weren’t done. They continued to look dangerous, and Burke scored his second goal of the match in the 77th minute. Once again it was Bedoya with the assist, finding Burke running between two Chicago’s defenders. Burke only had the goalkeeper to beat, and he didn’t miss.

Things were looking good for the U as they kept the pressure on the Fire. Then in the 86th minute, they sealed the deal with a Sapong goal. Fafa Picault passed the ball from the endline to Sapong, who was waiting in front of the goal, and he tapped it in.

This was a very un-Union-like performance. They were flat in the first half, and took control in the second. They got the lead and never let up. Union fans have to hope that they can continue in this form as they go back to league play this weekend when they travel to New England to take on the Revolution.

As far as the U.S. Open Cup, the U will play Houston on the road on September 26 in the final match of the tournament. This will be their biggest match of the season, with a trophy and a CONCACAF Champions League berth on the line.

In other big Union news, the team will officially announce their new Sporting Director tomorrow. He is Ernst Tanner, coming from Red Bull Salzburg in Austria.


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