Morgan Langley knows the stakes are high.
The former Philadelphia Union winger, now playing with the Harrisburg City Islanders, will return to PPL Park on Tuesday when the affiliate clubs meet in the quarterfinals of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
It's another chance for the Swarthmore College product to make a statement on the big stage. Langley was released by the Union in January and signed on for a second stint with the Islanders.
"I'm not gonna lie, I absolutely do have a chip on my shoulder," Langley said after Harrisburg's 3-2 exhibition win over the Union on June 12. "I believe that I can be at that level. I just believe that I need time to develop and I'm very happy where I am right now. I think I've developed a lot here. I'm ready to go and show the fans that I've developed and I'll continue to develop over the next couple of years."
Langley made one appearance in his brief tenure with the Union. He came on as a substitute in last September's 1-0 victory over Columbus. It was his debut with the club, but it was also his only appearance of the season.
"I know I was a raw player going in there, when I was with Philadelphia," Langley explained. "I know that. I know I was raw and that I didn't have the technical ability and the things that I needed necessarily at that point. But, hey, I was also raw playing Division III in college, and now I'm playing professionally. So I definitely have a chip on my shoulder, and I definitely want to come out of there with a win and maybe a goal."
There's no air of cockiness surrounding Langley. It's more of a determined and focused attitude -- a sense of assertiveness.
"I think that as a team we're excited to be going back down to PPL," added Langley. "We've had two (Open Cup) games that we were able to win at our own place, at City Island in Harrisburg. But at this point we're excited to take on an MLS team at their stadium."
It will also be a homecoming for City Islander J.T. Noone. Noone signed with the Union in 2010, but only saw the field in a couple of friendly matches.
"I think it's really exciting, especially after the run that we've had in the Open Cup," said Noone. "To progress this far, and then to play in a nice stadium like Philadelphia, it's always exciting for me to go back."
Noone downplayed the idea there that might be a "revenge factor" for Langley and himself.
"I just go out the same way every game and play my game," said Noone. "It's not on my mind. Not at all."
Harrisburg head coach Bill Becher has seen a number of his players make the jump to Major League Soccer, and vice versa.
"I guess it's different for everybody," said Becher. "But I can see that if you were with the Union, or in Major League Soccer, then (there might be something to prove). We have a couple of guys that were in MLS and now they're not. I think they'd like to get back. And there are other guys who haven't gotten the opportunity that want to prove that they belong at that level. It's only natural."
Union interim manager John Hackworth echoed Becher's sentiments.
"It's the right way to set up our pyramid structure," said Hackworth. "Guys that are below the first team want to get back there. (Langley and Noone) have both been with the first team. They both know what it's like. So now they're in Harrisburg and they're plying their trade and they're doing a great job. I hope they're very motivated to get back to the first team."