Philadelphia Union have created a lot of magic at Talen Energy Stadium this season. The club has scored two game-winning goals in the 90th minute or later at home in 2016. Tonight, Roland Alberg added a third to the season tally.
Alberg simply put the team on his back. The Dutchman scored two goals for the Union securing the victory and sending Philadelphia to the Round of 16 in the U.S. Open Cup competition. Head coach Jim Curtin applauded his competition for their effort tonight.
“After a fairly business-like 75-80 minutes we unraveled a bit and lost a little composure,” Curtin said. “Give credit to Harrisburg for pushing the game at the end there. I’m happy for some of our guys that really stepped up that deserved minutes.”
One of the men who stepped up for Curtin was Alberg. His first goal of the night came in stoppage time of the first half. The goal gave the Union a comfortable two goal advantage after the first 45 minutes of play. His second goal was created by pure heroics.
In the 93rd minute of play Sebastien Le Toux drew a foul just outside the box. Alberg then took the free-kick and delivered the winner. Facing the river end, the ball went soaring into the back of the net, sending the fans home happy.
“Well first of all I was trying to kick it in the corner of the goalkeeper and then last minute my mindset was different,” Alberg said. “I thought I would flip it over the wall and it goes in. The feeling was amazing. I’m happy with the win and going through.”
Walter Restrepo also took advantage of his playing time. In his Philadelphia Union debut, he made his presence felt as soon as the whistle blew, scoring the first goal of the match in the third minute of play.
His goal was the fastest goal in Philadelphia Union franchise history in U.S. Open Cup play. After the match he expressed how happy he was to make an impact for his club and boost his confidence moving forward.
“For me, it is very important because it was my first game with the Union,” Restrepo said, “I know that I have to make an impact in the game – run, defend and attack. The most important thing to me is the team winning. We have the win and that’s most important for us.”
The Union will wait to see who their opponent will be in the Round of 16. For now the club will have to regroup and turn their focus on MLS play. Philadelphia has three matches in a week, starting with a road match against NYCFC, before returning home to face Chicago Fire and Vancouver Whitecaps.