CHESTER, Pa. -- The Union’s deep run in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup came to an end tonight at PPL Park, where a strong Sporting Kansas City prevailed 2-0 on a 65th-minute goal from Jacob Peterson and a stoppage time empty-netter by Graham Zusi. The Union, who notched their first ever Open Cup wins this season, saw their hopes of playing for a trophy in early August thwarted by a stalwart KC defense and two second half tallies.
Chances were at a premium in the first half, during which the Union registered only one shot. Philadelphia’s best opportunity came midway through when fowards Lionard Pajoy and Jack McInerney looked poised to break through the back line of Kansas City defense, but the ball was cleared away before a shot could materialize.
Sporting Kansas City managed five shots in the first stanza, but Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath and the Philly back four kept the away side off the scoreboard.
Kansas City finally broke the deadlock in the 65th minute with a set piece goal. Minutes after MacMath made an uncomfortable save on a Kansas City try, Sporting midfielder Graham Zusi curled in a free kick that found the head of forward Jacob Peterson. The Sporting striker flicked a header on frame, and this time MacMath was unable to make the stop.
The Union had a chance to tie things up only a few minutes later when second-half substitute Antoine Hoppenot got into the box, but his attempt was cleared off the Sporting Kansas City line.
As the Union pressed to tie the game during stoppage time, Zac MacMath could do nothing but watch as a Graham Zusi shot from near midfield sailed over his head and into the empty goal to give Sporting KC a 2-0 lead and all but end the Union’s hopes of playing for the Open Cup championship.
Sporting Kansas City will host the winner of tonight’s second semifinal, Seattle Sounders vs. Chivas USA, in early August with the Open Cup championship on the line. For the Union, there’s little time to recover as expansion side Montreal Impact come to town for an MLS game on Saturday (7:00 p.m., TCN).