Hoppenot plays the hero in dramatic USOC win

Rookie forward hits game-winner in 92nd minute vs. United

Antoine Hoppenot 2012 preseason

Photo Credit: 
Donald Montague

BOYD, Md. -- Antoine Hoppenot entered the fourth round of the prestigious U.S. Open Cup Tuesday night against D.C. United in the 79th minute.

Hoppenot scored the eventual game-winning goal in the 92nd minute. He nearly scored a second goal in what wound up being a 2-1 victory for the Philadelphia Union following two 15-minute extra time periods in a hotly-contested match at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, MD.

It was a whirlwind night for the 5-foot-8 rookie forward who was selected by the Union with the 39th overall pick in the MLS Supplemental Draft.

“It means everything to score and get this win for our club,” said a jubilant Hoppenot, who played collegiately at Princeton. “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.”

Thanks in large part to Hoppenot, the Union advanced to face the Harrisburg City Islanders in the quarterfinals June 26 at PPL Park (7:30 p.m. ET). Harrisburg defeated the New York Red Bulls 3-1, also on Tuesday.

“We’ve been practicing so hard for this,” Hoppenot said. “I’m happy to get some playing time and I hope it opens the door for more. I’ll keep going to practice and working. For us as a club, I’m just so happy. It’s a great feeling to get this win here and advance in the tournament.”

The club was thrilled for Hoppenot following the match.

Especially Adu, who assisted on the game-winning goal.

“We’re so happy for him,” Adu said. “He comes in and works so hard every day. He practices so hard. I’m so happy he was able to get a goal like that because I’ve got to tell you, he practices like crazy. 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. By all that, I mean he works so hard and comes in with the energy every single day.

“To see him get rewarded like this is a great feeling. This whole club is happy for him.”

In 11 league matches, Hoppenot has only played 26 total minutes, seeing time in two of those matches.

Hoppenot scored 26 goals and 15 assists in a stellar college career, part of what convinced the Union to pluck him in the Supplemental Draft.

All the training and hard work paid big dividends in a rivalry match that served as revenge after United knocked the Union out of last year's Open Cup qualifying in penalty kicks.

“He’s a really talented player,” Adu said. “We see him every day and it’s impressive. It’s really just a matter of getting the playing time. Tonight, he was excited, came in and did a great job. Like I said before, we’re so happy for him. It’s great for him and great for the club.”

Hoppenot is hoping for many more big moments in his future.

“It was a great night,” Hoppenot said. “More than anything, I’m happy we got the win. It means everything as I mentioned. I’m very happy we’re moving on to the next round. I’m going to keep working at it.”