Photo: Nick Waters
Ah, springtime. Warmer, longer days that begin and end with birdsong. The trees again cloaked high in green while below flowers sprout. Harrisburg City Islanders claim another MLS scalp on the Susquehanna and it is still 16 years and no cups. Brian Carroll scores another goal in a chippy US Open cup match against DC United at the Maryland SoccerPlex and Carlos Valdes is again ejected late in a game which then goes to extra time. Yep, heady days with all of those comfortingly familiar things.
Only this year, that US Open Cup game ends not in penalty kicks and a DC United victory. No, this year, a rookie forward gives the Union a quick lead in extra time and the team is able to hold on for the win. Heck, Peter Nowak even managed not to get ejected. It’s a new spring, and why not? After all, springtime is a time of rejuvenation and growth. It’s only natural, right? Hopefully it’s not that global warming.
US Open Cup
DC United 1 – 2 Philadelphia Union
Read PSP’s match report from Wednesday night’s dramatic win and look for our photo essay from the game later in the day.
Match reports from Philadelphia Daily News, CSN Philly, SBI, Washington Post, Washington Examiner, Soccer Wire, The Cup.us, Union website, DC United website, Black and Red United, and MLSsoccer.com. DC United also has a postgame quote sheet.
Peter Nowak said, “I think we played a pretty good game. We created a lot of chances. I think we deserved to win because of the chances we created.”
Antoine Hoppenot said of his match winning performance, “We talked about this game the whole week. We knew who we were getting ready for, and we needed to get a win, and coach [Peter] Nowak put me in the game and he told me to just go out there and do what I do, and I mean I got a goal today so I am happy about that.”
Hoppenot also said, “I go to sleep thinking about the game and scoring in the game. I got the call and got a great pass from Freddy (Adu). He found me and I was able to send it home. It feels awesome.
Adu said, “I just saw Antoine in line with the defender, and when you see that, you know he’s going to win the foot race. So you’ve got to put the ball in front, and I just saw him and was able to slip it in between the two centerbacks, and he got on the end of it.”
Adu added, “He comes in and works so hard every day. He practices so hard…He’s so fast and so quick. And he’s kind of annoying and causes problems. I think he gets kicked more than anyone in practice…To see him get rewarded like this is a great feeling. This whole club is happy for him.”
For Adu, playing at the SoccerPlex was something of a homecoming. “This field, growing up we played here all the time, and it brings back great memories. Just coming back, having friends and family here to watch and set that game-winner up, especially against your former team, it’s nice. I’m just happy for our team because we’re having a pretty tough season so far, and to have a little run like this is really nice.”
Peter Nowak said of Hoppenot, “That’s why I have so many gray hairs. He was trying very hard, he stretched defenders and he got the speed that allowed him to get behind them and he got rewarded for it. It’s still a lot of work because at the end of the day you have to be able to sustain this physically, sustain the game. It’s not 30 or 45 minutes that you play and all of a sudden you start to fade away. I think it’s important for him to understand that; the game doesn’t end when you score a goal. You have to work both ways, you have to use your speed and he’s good at this. We gave him a chance and I think he deserved to score.”
United coach Ben Olsen said of the game, “It was a typical Open Cup game. 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 its an absolute zoo every game. It gets old. Believe me – I’m not blaming the referees tonight, but it doesn’t help.”
Olsen said of his team’s defeat, “Maybe it’s a good thing because this really does show us we’re not as good as we think we are. All of the little things that got us success up to this point, we forgot about tonight. There were signs we were forgetting about that over the last couple games and we’ve been squeaking by. Tonight we didn’t squeak by.”
Perry Kitchen and Michael Farfan were in battle the whole of the match. Said Kitchen looking ahead to the June 16 league matchup at PPL Park, “It’s definitely going to be another hard fought match. We’ll be ready for that one.”
Philadelphia Union face Harrisburg City Islanders at PPL Park in the next round of the Cup on June 26. The City Islanders feature former Union players JT Noone and Morgan Langley. Sheanon Williams and Chase Harrison both used to play for the City Islanders and Hoppenot and Chandler Hoffman recently played with the club on loan. Said Hoffman, “For us, it’s just even more motivation. We just want to get to the next round, which would be the final four, and Harrisburg is in our way. We’ve been taking it one game at a time and they’re the next opponent. We’re going to prepare as if we were playing any other team.”
The Goalkeeper checked in with US Soccer for those worried about the “competitive integrity” of the Union hosting Harrisburg City Islanders in the fifth round of the US Open Cup on June 26 “even though they are affiliated.” A US Soccer spokesperson replied, “Philadelphia and Harrisburg are not considered affiliates for the purpose of facing each other in Open Cup competition…[because] neither team has an ownership interest in the other – the relationship is one of cross-marketing and other cooperative efforts.” The Goalkeeper suggests that the scheduled friendly between the City Islanders and the Union at HersheyPark Stadium on June 12 be cancelled: “I’d like to think it will give the Open Cup game a little more integrity.” We shall see.
Harrisburg City Islanders 3 – 1 New York Red Bulls
Sainey Touray scored two goals in Harrisburg’s 3-1 extra time win over New York Red Bulls. A grinning Touray said after the game, “I’m tired. Too much running,” before adding, ““This is great. Playing a game against a great team with great players. This is where you need to show the level of play. Show them that we are playing in the USL, but we have good players.”
Harrisburg goalkeeper Nick Noble faced 17 shots in the match. “I’m exhausted!” Noble quipped after the game. He added, “The shots weren’t really the challenging part. The challenging part was the mental side of the game. Being under a lot of pressure and seeing so many restarts — that wears on you mentally and physically. To play 90 minutes and then play an extra 30 really says a lot about the character of this team.”
City Islanders coach Bill Becher related to reporters after the game, “I told Widdow [assistant coach Steve Widdowson], I said, ‘I’m dying over here. After the first overtime when we scored, I don’t know if I can take another 15. I guarantee you I can’t take penalty kicks.’”
Becher said of his team, “Just a great group of guys, I can’t say that enough. These guys fight, work, they do everything we ask them to do. And they’re winners, that’s the bottom line.”
Other Cup News
Sporting Kansas City defeated Colorado Rapids 2–0. Chivas USA defeated Carolina RailHawks 2–1 thanks to a last minute PK. A Late goal from Steve Lenhart put San Jose Earthquakes over Minnesota Stars 1–0. Dayton Dutch Lions defeated Michigan Bucks 2–1 after extra time. Charlotte Eagles topped San Antonio Scorpions 2–1 after extra time. Seattle Sounders ended the Cal FC fairy tale with a 5–0 win.
Click here to look at the remaining bracket. If the Union defeat Harrisburg, they’ll face the winner of Dayton Dutch Lions vs. Sporting Kansas City.
US Soccer rounds up Tuesday’s Open Cup action.
The draw for the 2013 CONCACAF Champions League was announced on Tuesday and all five MLS teams — La Galaxy, Real Salt Lake, Houston Dynamo, Seattle Sounders and Toronto FC — are in separate groups.
Could one of the owners of the 76er’s be instrumental to DC United getting a new stadium?
Edson Buddle will be out three to six weeks following knee surgery.
Paul Riley’s Women’s SuperGroup will be running clinics at United Sports in Downington June 20-22.
The Shin Guardian has an in-depth preview of Friday’s World Cup qualifier between the US and Antigua & Barbuda (7pm, ESPN, ESPN3).
Sporting News talks to Clint Dempsey.
Soccer America says Jurgen Klinsmann’s “call for dirty play” has backfired. When exactly did Klinsmann call for dirty play?
Abby Wambach, who just turned 32, makes her favorite sandwich:
Oh, Mike & Mike, how you embarrass yourselves.
The Guardian’s animated history series on the participants at Euro 2012 continues with a look at France.
The BEUC, the umbrella group representing the EU’s national consumer organizations, has issued a warning about the level of toxic chemicals contained in the replica jerseys of many of the teams at Euro 2012. The Guardian reports,
“Research into the chemicals used in official team strips in Poland, Spain, Germany, Russia, Ukraine, Italy, France, Holland and Portugal, showed all nine national shirts contained ‘worrying’ levels of chemicals.
Lead, a heavy metal, was found in the team strip of six of the countries – Spain, Germany, Ukraine, Russia, France and Italy. In kits from Spain and Germany, lead exceeded the legal level for children’s products and Portuguese and Dutch shirts also contained nickel.”
All of which can thus be summarized: “Yikes!”