Of course the Union won another crazy U.S. Open Cup game


CHESTER, Pa. -- I made an amateur mistake last night.

With the Union leading by two goals and seemingly cruising along late in their fourth-round U.S. Open Cup game against the Harrisburg City Islanders, I tweeted this:

What happened next probably surprised no one as the Union allowed their former USL affiliate to score two goals to tie the game, drew a red card and then capped off the night with a dramatic stoppage-time winner from Roland Alberg (who showed how good he can be when he gets playing time and, just as importantly, bailed me out after some not-so-nice comments were rightfully being tweeted at me).

That’s just the kind of stuff that happens in the Open Cup, especially in the fourth round when the MLS teams join the fray and face some of the country’s best lower-division squads. 

Even when you try to avoid it.

Before the game, Curtin said he hoped this year’s team -- currently sitting pretty in first place in the Eastern Conference heading into Saturday’s game vs. New York City FC at Yankee Stadium -- could move past some of that craziness because of their improved talent and depth.

He reiterated that point after the game as only he can, saying that when the craziness started to “creep in … we punched it right in the face.” 

The thing is, the craziness has usually worked out well for the Union, who have a very good record in Open Cup games that include weather delays, red cards, stoppage-time winners, extra-time winners or shootouts. I wrote about that last year as the team charged to their second straight tourney final.

Wednesday’s game was no different as Alberg provided the Union with another magical Open Cup moment with a perfect free kick just before the final whistle that froze Harrisburg goalie Nick Noble. Watch:


Here’s another angle of the goal, from the River End:

And another one that showed Alberg knew it was in the whole time:

The message as always: embrace the Open Cup craziness. And for me, don’t tweet too soon.

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