Union becoming Buffalo Bills of U.S. Open Cup

USA Today Images

Union becoming Buffalo Bills of U.S. Open Cup

The Union aren't quite the Buffalo Bills of the U.S. Open Cup, but they're getting close.

Mauro Manotas scored a pair of first-half goals as the shaky Union were toppled by the Houston Dynamo, 3-0, on a rainy Wednesday night at BBVA Compass Stadium.

It marked the club's third Open Cup finals loss in five seasons. 

After losing to the Seattle Sounders in 2014 and Sporting Kansas City in 2015, both at Talen Energy Stadium, the Union hit the road for their third Open Cup finals. But unlike the Sounders match, when the Union relinquished the lead, and the SKC match, which went to penalty kicks, this one wasn't competitive.

The Dynamo opened the scoring in the fourth minute on a brutal defensive breakdown by the Union. Beating Auston Trusty to the ball on the goal line, Alberth Elis placed a bouncing cross between defender Jack Elliott and goalkeeper Andre Blake, giving Manotas the easy header goal.

Manotas made it 2-0 in the 25th minute, when he moved past Trusty, easily gained the top of the box, and ripped a shot that rolled past the fingertips of Blake and in. It was a back-breaker for the Union, who put an onus on keeping Manotas in check.

Trusty's poor night went from bad to worse in the 65th minute, when he scored an own-goal off a rebound for the 3-0 Dynamo lead. It wasn't a mistimed header either, he kicked it right in. Would have been a strong finish if it was on the opposing goal.

Union manager Jim Curtin pulled Cory Burke for Jay Simpson in the 68th minute. It was the right move, albeit a tad late. Simpson, the reigning MLS player of the week, had three shots in under 20 minutes, while Burke finished with three on the night.

Former Union player Andrew Wenger made the start for the Dynamo. If you can remember, it was Wenger who missed a crucial penalty kick in the Union's PK loss to SKC in 2015. He had the last laugh.

The Union will look to put this devastating loss aside quickly as they visit the Columbus Crew in MLS action on Saturday at MAPFRE Stadium. The Union are one point behind the Crew for No. 4 spot in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.

Union fall to top seed NYCFC in regular-season finale

USA Today Images/James Lang

Union fall to top seed NYCFC in regular-season finale


CHESTER, Pa. — Ronald Matarrita and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi scored and New York City FC beat the Philadelphia Union 2-1 on Sunday in the regular-season finale.

New York City (18-6-10), the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, earned a first-round bye and will play No. 4 seed Toronto or fifth-seeded D.C. United in the conference semifinals.

Philadelphia (16-11-7) lost three of its last four regular-season games, falling from first to third in the Eastern standings. The Union will host the sixth-seeded New York Red Bulls in the knockout round.

Matarrita opened the scoring in the sixth minute. Valentin Castellanos, at the top of the area, first-timed a pass from Ben Sweat to Matarrita for the finish from near the spot. It was the first goal of the season for the 25-year-old defender.

Ismael Tajouri-Shradi chipped an entry from outside the area that deflected off the Union's Jamiro Monteiro into the goal to make it 2-0 in the 22nd and Philadelphia's Marco Fabian converted from the spot in the 87th minute. 

Union fall into second-place tie after loss to Crew

USA Today Images

Union fall into second-place tie after loss to Crew


COLUMBUS, Ohio — Pedro Santos had a goal and an assist in the second half and the Columbus Crew beat the Union 2-0 on Sunday night to hand the Eastern Conference's top seed to New York City FC.

Youness Mokhtar's first career goal, set up by Luis Diaz and Santos, put Columbus up in the 69th minute. Four minutes later, Santos' 11th goal doomed the Union, who fell six points behind NYCFC and into a tie for second with Atlanta United, which holds the tiebreaker with one game to play.

Eloy Room made three saves for his first shutout.

The game was delayed by almost an hour as lightning arrived with the start of halftime.

On the attack, the Union (16-10-7) failed to get a strong shot and off the block the Crew (10-15-8) quickly countered. Speedy Luis Diaz dribbled the ball across midfield on the right before sending it middle to Santos, who put it to Mokhtar in the box left. Mokhtar counted back into the middle and beat three defenders with a low drive past Andre Blake.

Off a corner four minutes later, a Union defender's header put the ball straight up in the air and Blake punched it out of the box. Santos pounced on the loose ball sending a four-bouncer through a crowd of players past the diving Blake.