CHESTER, Pa. -- It took two extra time sessions, but Andrew Wenger and the Union took down their USL Pro affiliate Harrisburg City Islanders, 3-1, in the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday night at PPL Park.
Capitalizing on a turnover in the midfield, Sebastien Le Toux pushed the ball forward to Wenger in the box. The Lancaster native’s shot deflected off a defender and past Brian Sylvestre for the game-winner in the 110th minute.
Wenger added a second in the 117th minute to seal the victory for the Union.
The Union, 3-7-6 in their MLS season, advance to face the New York Cosmos on June 24 at PPL Park, in the fifth round of the tournament. Playing out of the NASL, the Cosmos are coming off a 3-0 win over the New York Red Bulls.
The situation was getting dire for the Union in the 89th minute, until Maurice Edu broke the stout City Islanders’ defense to give the Union some much-needed life. Uncovered in the middle of the box, Edu accepted a pass from Le Toux. Gaining possession, Edu fired a quick shot that cleanly beat Sylvestre, sending the contest to extra time, 1-1.
When Jim Curtin was introduced as the new head coach of the Union last Tuesday, he made it clear his club would take its upcoming U.S. Open Cup match, “very seriously,” as a chance for redemption in what has been a disastrous 2014.
It was Curtin's first win as manager of the Union.
Because of this, the Union didn’t permit the City Islanders to use loaned Union players Jimmy McLaughlin and Richie Marquez, while they started Edu, Vincent Nogueira and Cristian Maidana, among other everyday starters.
The Union’s first flurry into Open Cup play didn’t treat them differently than any of their 16 MLS matches. Curtin’s club held massive pressure against its opposition but was unable to create anything dangerous in the final third. This was a trend throughout the contest.
The Union earned 19 corners but were unable to capitalize. Sylvestre, who was the City Islanders’ best player, made 12 saves in the losing effort.
The Union paid for their inability to finish in the 38th minute, when a corner from City Islanders’ midfielder Danny Diprima was cleanly headed on net by Coady Andrews. Union rookie goalkeeper Andre Blake, making his first career professional start, made the initial save but the rebound came out to Jason Pelletier, who made no mistake, firing it in for the 1-0 City Islanders lead.