Philadelphia Union vs. Chicago Fire | US Open Cup Match Preview
Philadelphia Union vs.
Wednesday, August 12, 7:30 pm ET
PPL Park, Chester, Pa.
Although the Union have struggled in MLS play this season, they’ve found a whole lot of magic in the US Open Cup, winning two games while being down a man and surviving two shootouts en route to the semifinals.
They’ll look to find a little bit more on Wednesday, when they host the Chicago Fire with a second-straight trip to the tournament final on the line.
“I guess you can say everyone’s a little more revved up because it’s a single-elimination game, so if you lose there’s no more Open Cup for the rest of the season,” said goalkeeper John McCarthy, who led the Union into the semis with two tremendous shootout performances. “Maybe there’s a little more excitement or energy within the team because it only takes five games to win a trophy.”
The Union have certainly been dead-set on winning the franchise’s first trophy ever since losing an extra-time heartbreaker to the Seattle Sounders in last year’s title game.
But to return to the finals, they might have to do so without arguably their most influential player as Vincent Nogueira remains doubtful with a pulled quad. The good news for the Union is that captain Maurice Edu seems poised to return after sitting out Saturday’s scoreless draw vs. Orlando with a groin injury.
“He’s been working really hard to get back,” Curtin said of Edu. “It looks positive for him.”
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. - Chicago Fire head coach Frank Yallop is adamant that the prospect of hosting the US Open Cup final for the first time since 2006 will not distract his side from overcoming the hurdle of the Philadelphia Union in Wednesday's semifinal.
That’s the prize should the Fire overcome Jim Curtin's club at PPL Park after last week's draw at U.S. Soccer's headquarters came out in favor of Chicago, but Yallop insists his team will remain firmly focused on the Union, whom they also meet in league play Sunday.
"First things first, we’ve got to get a result in Philadelphia," Yallop told reporters Monday. "We’re primed and ready for that. But I think it’s massive for the club, especially when the season hasn’t gone well in the league play. We’re starting to get our team looking like the team I envisioned. Hopefully it’s enough to get past this game and go on to host it and do well.”