CHESTER, Pa. — The Philadelphia Union are headed to their third U.S. Open Cup final in five years.
Jim Curtin’s men knocked out the Chicago Fire, 3-0, behind a pair of second-half goals from Cory Burke, both of which were assisted by Alejandro Bedoya. CJ Sapong added a late insurance tally as well Wednesday night at Talen Energy Stadium.
“A great feeling,” Union goalkeeper Andre Blake said after the match. “But to be honest, there’s still a bitter taste in my mouth. We’ve been there so close, two years in a row. We took the lead two years in a row and watched it slip away. So I think this time, the third time, hopefully we can get it right.”
After scattered chances in the first half, the Union came alive with more of an attacking punch in the second stanza.
Burke opened the scoring in the 59th minute, pulling down a chipped assist from Bedoya on the right side of the box and blasting past Fire goalkeeper Richard Sanchez, who rushed off his line.
“I’d like to see that again,” Bedoya said of his assist. “It was pretty nice, I think. I don’t know whatever happened in the situation, I think Chicago was complaining that it was their throw-in or there was two balls on the field of play, but I don’t know the exact law of the game. But if it doesn’t interfere with the play, you can keep playing, and that’s what happened.
“I got the ball, maybe like 35 yards out, it popped out to me, took a touch, played a 1-2 with Borek [Dockal] and I was able to dink it over the backline to Cory,” Bedoya said. “He almost messed it up I think, but at least it went in the back of the goal. It was a great team goal I think.”
The Union striker doubled his goal total in the 77th minute, receiving a pass from Bedoya, darting into the right side of the box and fending off a pair of defenders to finish past Sanchez.
Sapong finished off the contest in the 86th minute, putting the ball in the back of the net from close range after Fafa Picault tapped the ball over to the forward from a tight angle.
The Fire attempted to break through the Union’s defensive line throughout the night, but the back four of Ray Gaddis, Auston Trusty, Jack Elliott and Keegan Rosenberry held firm.
Rosenberry and Elliott shut down Fire winger Raheem Edwards the majority of the contest, and Chicago forward Nemanja Nikolic was nowhere to be found all night.
“They played very good tonight and they kept a zero.” Union midfielder Haris Medunjanin said of the defender. “That’s most important for us.”