Match preview: Union out to withstand incoming Nor'Easters in Open Cup opener
What: Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup fourth round: Ocean City (USL-PDL) at Philadelphia Union (MLS)
When: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m., Where: PPL Park, Chester
TV: None; Radio: None. Online: Streaming via philadelphiaunion.com/live
Parking: Game is Bonus Game No. 2 for STH with parking books. There is paid parking for general public.
The Philadelphia Union advanced all the way to the semifinals of the U.S. Open Cup last season.
They were finally eliminated by Sporting Kansas City, 2-0, at PPL Park.
They’re hoping for another deep run beginning Tuesday night against the Ocean City Nor’easters in the third round at PPL Park.
It’s a short turnaround following Saturday’s 5-3 loss in league action to the Montreal Impact at Stade Saputo.
The Union take the U.S. Open Cup very seriously and they’ll likely have to tweak their roster with such a small window between games and another one looming against Toronto on Saturday.
“How guys recover from Saturday’s game is something we’ll gauge,” Union technical director Rob Vartughian said. “I think what we’ve shown over these last 10 days is that we’re deep. We have players who have come in and contributed. We’re happy with that and it’s something we may have to tap into midweek. We’ll see how it goes.”
Having this opportunity to host a U.S. Open Cup match once again is thrilling, even though it means three matches in eight days.
“We’re excited that we get to play that game here,” Vartughian said. “What it means for us is three games in eight days with a tough turnaround on Tuesday rather than Wednesday. But that’s an important game for us and for this club. We're treating the entire competition as something we want to make a run at.”
Vartughian said that the club scouted Ocean City’s 1-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
Once the match at Montreal was complete, the Union would delve 100 percent into preparing for the U.S. Open Cup.
“We had folks there at the game and will have a scouting report and the same pregame lead-up to any game," Vartughian said.
Whether it’s a friendly, a league match or the U.S. Open Cup, the Union will be ready.
“Our focus and preparation is always the same,” said forward Jack McInerney. “We made a very good run in the Open Cup last season and it would be great to do that again this season. We’ll be prepared to play.”
Contact Union writer Andy Jasner at email@example.com