Union

Jim Curtin, Alejandro Bedoya show frustration over Toronto FC penalty kick

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Jim Curtin, Alejandro Bedoya show frustration over Toronto FC penalty kick

CHESTER, Pa. -- The Union were bitter. 

Despite earning a come-from-behind 2-2 draw against Toronto FC on Saturday at Talen Energy Stadium, the Union thought they were robbed by referee Mark Geiger.  

The moment of contention happened shortly before the halftime whistle when Union defender Oguchi Onyewu fouled Sebastian Giovinco, which earned TFC the free kick. On the ensuing restart, in a muddled mess typical of an in-the-box scrum, Union rookie Derrick Jones tripped up Toronto FC forward Jozy Altidore. 

"It’s not a penalty," said Union manager Jim Curtin, who was biting his tongue throughout his postgame press conference. "It's clear. We've seen the video now. Referees make mistakes, I have to watch what I say."

Geiger immediately signaled for a penalty kick, which Altidore buried to tie the match at one.

"You can call a penalty kick on literally every ball that's put in the box," Curtin said. "Everyone, someone is grabbing, someone's holding." 

Yet, while clutching and grabbing happens on almost every set piece, the Professional Referee Association has added an initiative for 2017 to be more aggressive in calling "holding and pushing in the penalty area."

Still, the Union thought it was a dive.

"Knowing him, he tends to go down easily in the box," said Alejandro Bedoya, a U.S. Men's National Team teammate of Altidore, who also labeled it a makeup call from a penalty kick given to the Union earlier in the half. "So we'll just leave it at that."

In return, Altidore lashed out at Bedoya on Twitter in a tweet that has since been deleted.

While anger and frustration at the officiating were a theme for the Union after the game, Curtin was ultimately upset with the result, which he believes was stolen by a poor call.

"It's hard," Curtin said. "It's a hard job they have. It's not one I ever want to do. But it is tough because our guys empty their tanks for 90 minutes and they get a point out of it and I think it should've been three."

Alejandro Bedoya's early strike puts Union in U.S. Open Cup semifinals

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Alejandro Bedoya's early strike puts Union in U.S. Open Cup semifinals

CHESTER, Pa. — Alejandro Bedoya scored in the fourth minute and the Union didn’t look back, easily eliminating Orlando City SC, 1-0, in the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals on Wednesday at Talen Energy Stadium. 

With the win, the Union advance to their third semifinals appearance in five years, where they will face the winner of Louisville FC and Chicago Fire. The priority location draw for the semifinals and finals will take place on Thursday. The semifinals will begin on Aug. 8. 

“In four years in this competition with this group, we haven’t been beaten in regulation, in 90 minutes,” Union manager Jim Curtin said. “We’re a tough out in this competition. Hopefully we get another couple home games and get a break in that regard. Two wins from lifting our first trophy as a club.” 

• Bedoya made it look easy. Off a short corner, Haris Medunjanin’s cross was headed on goal by Fafa Picault. Earl Edwards Jr. made the initial save but it bounced out to the captain, who roofed it from the crease for the 1-0 Union lead and eventual win. 

• Orlando City SC, which entered the match with nine losses in its last 10 MLS games, defeated D.C. United in penalty kicks to reach the quarterfinals. The Union topped the Richmond Kickers and New York Red Bulls on the way to Wednesday’s match.

• Orlando looked like a team that had lost nine straight recently, though the Union couldn’t put the struggling visitors away. The Union finished the match with 53.9 percent possession and 18 shots. Still, it was another game in which the club lacked killer instinct despite territorial domination, resulting in only one goal.

• That domination was powered by the play of Picault, who was the Union’s offensive engine. Late in the second half, Picault beat his man in the box but placed his shot just wide of the right post. It was one of four shot attempts for Picault.

• Despite playing hero on Saturday against the Fire, David Accam struggled on Wednesday. He was active but had little effect, and was replaced in the 60th minute by Marcus Epps. Accam finished with one total shot. 

• It should be noted that Mark McKenzie, a rookie, pocketed Orlando forward Dom Dwyer for the entire match. Dwyer, who couldn’t gain an inch in possession, was forced into trying to draw calls. He was held without a shot attempt. 

“He was a beast,” Curtin said of McKenzie. “He’s a big reason we got a shutout tonight.”

• With the help of that effort from McKenzie, Andre Blake earned the four-save shutout. He wasn’t tested much, but was good when he needed to be.

Union stun Fire in 95th minute on David Occam's buzzer-beater

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Union stun Fire in 95th minute on David Occam's buzzer-beater

BOX SCORE

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- David Accam scored in the 95th minute, and Cory Burke had two goals to help the Philadelphia Union beat the Chicago Fire 4-3 on Wednesday night.

Accam dribbled through a pair of Chicago defenders and sent home a right-footed shot just inside the left post for his first goal of the season. His game-winner came a minute after the Fire appeared to have salvaged a draw with Bastian Schweinsteiger heading home Diego Campos' corner.

Burke scored on a rebound in the 73rd minute that made it 3-2 for the Union (7-9-3) and a header at the end of first-half stoppage time that made it 2-1.

Aleksandar Katai made it 2-all for the Fire (6-9-5) in the 69th minute with a low hard shot that skipped twice into the far corner.

Nemanja Nikolic tied it at 1 for Chicago in the 39th minute, powering a penalty kick past goalkeeper Andre Blake. Mark McKenzie brought Katai down at the left corner of the penalty area to send Nikolic to the spot.

Haris Medunjanin opened the scoring for Philadelphia in the 31st minute, pouncing on a defensive miscue and finishing with the outside of his foot.