A memorable night for myriad reasons transpired Tuesday night as the Union took on the New England Revolution in quarterfinal U.S. Open Cup play at PPL Park.
It was the Union moving on to the semifinal round of the Cup following a 2-0 win over the Revolution, courtesy of goals from Conor Casey and Sebastien Le Toux. Casey opened the affair in the ninth minute finishing off a restart ball from defender Sheanon Williams. In the 47th minute, it was Le Toux became the all-time leading goalscorer in the modern era of U.S. Open Cup, as he notched his 14th goal in the tournament with a free kick from about 30 yards outside of goalkeeper Brad Knighton’s 18-yard-box.
With the goal, Le Toux surpassed former D.C. United forward Jaime Moreno and continued his scoring tear as the surefooted attack man has seven goals and three assists over the last seven matches in all competitions.
It also ensured the Union will travel to either North Carolina or Dallas for semifinal play on Aug. 12 as it awaits the winner of FC Dallas and the Carolina RailHawks of the revived NASL.
“You don’t really think about it. It’s something the fans like more, so I think you should thank your stats guys," Le Toux said of his record setting night. "It’s a great achievement, but we have more games to play, so it’s good for the team. I'm more happy that all the guys stayed concentrated and we did a good job defensively tonight. We've been doing that for while now and it's paid off, especially over the past couple of weeks."
But the drama wasn’t on the field, it was the one hour, four minute weather delay that kicked off a wild dust storm that covered the South End of PPL Park followed a torrential thunderstorm that found everyone – fans included scurrying for safer ground. The dust storm was the first of its kind and made for quite the conversation on the social mediasphere.
VIDEO! PPL Park dust storm: http://t.co/50yDMKFDrX— Kevin Kinkead (@KevinKCBS3) July 9, 2014
The talk however assuredly has to be of a Union team that has found its scoring knack, scoring 14 goals in its last seven matches in all competitions and have just one loss in its last eight matches. The Union also took the edge in the season series against New England, going 3-1 in four matches played against its 1-95 neighbors to the North.
Things don't get any easier as starting Saturday, the Union kick off a three-game, seven day stretch in MLS play beginning with a home match against Colorado (7 p.m., purchase tickets). That match, presented by Toyota is the Union’s Salute to Service” night, is also the annual “Fireworks Night” as well. Following that a midweek home match against Eastern Conference rival New York looms (7 p.m., purchase tickets) before a Friday flight to Chicago to take on the Fire next Saturday, July 16 (8:30 p.m., Comcast SportsNet).
“This is good because this is a tournament we take very seriously," said Union defender Amobi Okugo, who had another great match. "Any trophy you can take to your fan base I feel like you should take it seriously. Hopefully we don’t have a repeat of what happened in 2012."
"This is good we just keep building on success and and carrying the motion. Hopefully this will help us for Saturday to keep building the confidence and the momentum. We can learn from this game and use it for the future games we have."
What are your thoughts on the Union’s recent run of form? Leave a comment below.
Contact Union digital editor Kerith Gabriel at firstname.lastname@example.org
Philadelphia Union 2, New England Revolution 0
Tuesday, July 8; PPL Park, Chester, Pa.
PHI: Casey (Williams)’9
PHI: Le Toux (unassisted)’47
NE: McCarthy (reckless foul)’ 16
PHI: Okugo (reckless tackle) ‘57
NE: Goncalves (reckless tackle) ‘71
NE: Soares (reckless tackle) ‘73
PHI: Williams (reckless foul)’75
PHI: Wheeler (reckless tackle)’76
NE: Soares (ejection)’ 88
PHILADELPHIA UNION STARTING XI
MacMath, Fabinho, Gaddis, Edu, Williams, Carroll, Cruz (Wenger ’82), Le Toux, Okugo, Casey (Wheeler, 62’), Maidana (Fred, 89’)
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION STARTING XI
Knighton, Alston, Barnes, Goncalves, McCarthy (Soares, 45’), Caldwell, Dorman (Rowe, 62’), Neumann, Nguyen, Bunbury, Sene (Fagundez, 45’)