USOC win sets Union up for clash vs. Islanders
BOYDS, Md. -- Chandler Hoffman and Antoine Hoppenot are set to take on the same club they were loaned out to just a few short weeks ago.
On June 26, the Union and their pair of young strikers will play against the City Islanders at PPL Park in the quarterfinal round of the 2012 U.S. Open Cup. The showdown against Philadelphia's affiliate club was set up when each took care of business on Tuesday night, beating D.C. United and the New York Red Bulls, respectively.
Ironically enough, the meeting between Philadelphia and Harrisburg will actually be the second in a two-week period, as the clubs are due for a June 12 friendly at Hersheypark Stadium.
"It's crazy to think that a couple of weeks ago Antoine and I were actually loaned out to the Islanders," said Hoffman, who came on as a second half sub in Tuesday night's 2-1 win against D.C. "Now we'll be able to play them in a really important game in front of our home crowd. We're excited. We're very excited about the next match."
"We got loaned out there," added Hoppenot, who scored the game-winning goal in the 92nd minute on Tuesday night. "We played two games for them (on the road), then I played another game with them at home. I think it's going to be great. The atmosphere's going to be great, we're going to go in and try to beat them. It'll be a good game I think."
Harrisburg made it to the quarterfinals in thrilling fashion. Last week, Bill Becher's club pulled off a spectacular comeback, scoring three extra time goals against New England before winning on penalty kicks.
On Tuesday night, they dispatched Union rival New York, 3-1, also in extra time.
"It's good (to advance), and we play at home," Union manager Peter Nowak told reporters. "The latest edition of the Cup, there are a lot of surprises, so we can't take it lightly. Harrisburg beat New England and now they beat New York. It's still very important for us to move forward in this tournament, especially playing at home."
A number of former Union players now play for the Islanders, including J.T. Noone and Morgan Langley.
Both sides know each other well, but it doesn't change how the Union will prepare.
"For us, it's just even more motivation," said Hoffman. "We just want to get to the next round, which would be the final four, and Harrisburg is in our way. We've been taking it one game at a time and they're the next opponent. We're going to prepare as if we were playing any other team."
"It's the same thing," explained Hoppenot. "I mean, they're obviously a great team. I played with them. They love to play. They play hard and they work. They work harder than any other team. We know it's going to be a tough game but we're going to be ready to play them. It'll be great, a lot of fun."