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Carroll’s stoppage time header edges Union past PDL’s Ocean City

BrianCarroll (USA Today)


With the U.S. Open Cup in its 100th edition this year, it is fitting that such a landmark coincides with the creation of the Philadelphia Union’s Bethlehem Steel-inspired third kit. Bethlehem, after all, won the cup a record-tying five times back in the 1910s and 20s.

After a wild finish Tuesday night at PPL Park, the Union—wearing that third kit—took their first step toward writing themselves in Open Cup lore alongside their predecessors.

Captain Brian Carroll’s header in the 92nd minute rescued a 2-1 win for Philadelphia over the PDL’s plucky Ocean City Nor’easters in Tuesday night’s Third Round match.

The goal came just minutes after Ocean City’s Emmanuel Kollie scrambled home an equalizer in the 89th minute to cancel out Jack McInerney’s 49th-minute tap-in.

“These games are tough,” Union manager John Hackworth acknowledged afterward. “You’re going to have battles…it’s the March Madness of U.S. soccer. I thought we showed a lot of character, especially at the end there.”

Given the way the first 85 minutes progressed, the finish that followed seemed highly unlikely.

A very strong Union side fielded in a 4-3-3 formation failed to create chances from sustained possession and pressure in Ocean City’s half of the field. Well-organized and marshaled by the center back partnership of Tapiwa Machingauta and Tyler Hillard, the Nor’easters kept the Union to a few tame efforts outside the penalty area in the first half.

“It’s not a system we’ve played this year, so it was just about trying something different and seeing what we could get out of it,” Jack McInerney explained. “We wanted to win obviously since most of the first team guys were out there, so the second half we just had to make the change.”

The change was an increased emphasis on attacking the Nor’easter right side. This led to Sebastien Le Toux’s low cross for McInerney, which allowed the striker to tap in his 10th goal of 2013 early in the second half.

It looked like the job was done for the Union, who continued to control the play and slowly create chances. But a long ball on an Ocean City free kick in the 90th minute evaded Zac MacMath and the entire Union defense, and Kollie was there to scramble the ball home.

“I kind of got lost and had my feet taken from under me,” MacMath remarked on the goal, which was just the Nor’easters’ fourth shot on goal in the match.

Philadelphia quickly responded after the goal, winning a corner in the second minute of stoppage time. Le Toux’s low drive to the near post found a streaking Carroll, who nodded it back across goal off the far post and just across the line.

“I’m happy for the group,” said Carroll, “We’re advancing and we value this tournament, so we’re going to put our best foot forward.”

Carroll’s goal ensures that Philadelphia’s Cup dreams survive into the 4th Round, where they will meet rivals D.C. United on June 12 at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, MD. It is the third straight year the two teams have met in the U.S. Open Cup at that venue, with D.C. United winning on penalties in 2011 and the Union returning the favor in extra time last year.


  1. Ocean City were definitely outmatched and the Union could have steamrolled them, but while Philly were in control, they lacked any drive, conviction or urgency in their play. Le Toux and Cruz were the only players who looked to attack and not slowly fiddle around like the rest of the team. Some random thoughts:

    – Another MacMath blunder on the goal. He completely misjudged the cross and wasn’t really close to it in the end. Ugh.
    – Another Jack McInerney tap-in. Say what you will about his shortcomings as a player (of which there are many), but he consistently puts himself in positions to get chances and he finishes. So hats off to him.
    – Leo Fernandez got a shot, but didn’t make much of it save for a couple of good dribbles. Unimpressive performance.
    – Michael Farfan was given a golden chance to score right after OC did, but he decided to try to chip the ball into the top corner from 16 yards out instead of just putting it past the goalie. He’s not having a good season.
    – Once again the Union didn’t seem properly prepared and John Hackworth bears responsibility for this shortcoming. Against a completely overmatched opponent (both physically and skill-wise), Philly dithered when they should have pressed and allowed an inferior team the chance to keep it close. I don’t think Hackworth is good enough.

    • Seriously. Fernandez wasn’t anything special and the Keon Daniel + Brian Carroll midfield offered little (if any) creativity. Hackworth just doesn’t like Torres and Roger will be gone soon enough. I wish it was Hackworth going.

    • He’s small, doesn’t play defense, and Leo Fernandes has passed him on the depth chart (and rightfully so, he looked good last night). And even if we wanted to use him as an attacking midfielder, Le Toux does that better. He’s a good player that can’t get playing time thanks to the composition of the roster and formation Hackworth uses. It’s a shame, because he’s the most exciting player we have, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to production.

  2. For a moment, I thought Brian Carroll played for a different club.

    I’ve never seen that kit before for Philly. Looks like Derby County’s kit.

    • It was the new 3rd Kit adidas released during Jersey unveiling week…it’s in honor to the team that won a record 5 US Open Cups…..

    • Glad the information on the kit is buried in the first line of the article – With the U.S. Open Cup in its 100th edition this year, it is fitting that such a landmark coincides with the creation of the Philadelphia Union’s Bethlehem Steel-inspired third kit.

      • Not sure if you’re attempting to take a shot but you can run along if so.

        Reference “For a moment”, as the picture/headline before clicking the link does not provide this information. I’m simply making conversation.

      • run along? like you own the board. Conversation would be more like ‘ cool to see Philly honoring the old school Bethlehem Steel’.

      • Let me expand on that:

        “Just making conversation” about a club, kit and city I could care less about while making a genuine, albeit, minimal effort to converse about.

        The kit is ugly and the historical reference means absolutely nothing to me. It’s a boring kit. That should have been my only statement.

        The kit is ugly.

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