Match recap: Union come up short in OT in one of the most memorable matches at PPL Park

 

They gave it everything – every ounce of energy and effort.

The Philadelphia Union simply came up a little bit short.

Despite holding a 1-0 lead at halftime, the Union were unable to hang on.

Seattle Sounders FC responded with three goals in the second half and through two 15-minute overtime periods to capture the 2014 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup with a 3-1 victory over the Union Tuesday night at PPL Park.

“I’ve never been proud of anything in my life that ended in a loss before,” Union interim manager Jim Curtin said. “This was the first time.”

The Union were in search of their first trophy in the near five-year history of the club. Seattle came away with its record fourth U.S. Open Cup title, matching the Chicago Fire for the most titles. It was the fifth final in six years for the Sounders, who won three straight times from 2009-11. They outscored their opponents 18-3 in this year’s competition.

“Seattle is a great team,” Curtin said. “Seattle is the best team in our league.”

Playing in front of a spirited crowd of 15,256, the Union came out strong and took a 1-0 lead when Maurice Edu headed home a free kick by Cristian Maidana in the 38th minute.

The fans were already amped from a pregame ceremony of fireworks and Edu’s goal sent them into a frenzy.

In the 47th minute, Chad Barrett scored on a header to equalize the match at one apiece.

Philadelphia controlled the tempo for much of the remainder of the match and nearly notched the game-winning goal twice.

In the 88th minute, Pedro Ribeiro found himself free in front of the Seattle net but his left-footed shot from point blank range was saved by Stefan Frei.

“We had chances to win it,” Ribeiro said. “We didn’t put it away.”

Soon after six minutes of stoppage time was added, Vincent Nogueira fired a shot off the left post.

When the match went to the first overtime, Clint Dempsey pushed Seattle ahead 2-1 in the 101st minute. Taking a pass from Obafemi Martins, Dempsey gathered himself and sent a shot past Zac MacMath.

Martins clinched the match for Seattle with a goal in the 114th minute.

Philadelphia kept battling to the very end, which it has done every time for Curtin. It just wasn’t enough on this night against a four-time champion.

“We had chances and just missed a few times,” said Sebastien Le Toux. “A play here or a play there – that’s what it takes to win in a final.”

This was the Union’s first loss at home since May 17 – a span of 10 matches in all competitions. They had been 7-0-3 during that time.

“I’m extremely proud of the group, extremely proud of the guys but I think I’m going to toss this one away and remember the feeling and try not to let it happen again,” Union defender Sheanon Williams said.

The Union (9-9-10, 37 points), who are tied for fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings with the Columbus Crew, don’t have much time to rest with the Houston Dynamo visiting PPL Park on Saturday night.

“We have to put this one aside tonight and get ready for Houston,” Ribeiro said. “It’s not easy, but that’s what we have to do.”

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Contact Union writer Andy Jasner at andy.jasner@yahoo.com