There’s 72 hours left until the Philadelphia Union play the biggest game of the year. After a run that embodied everything cup football is all about, the Union will compete for the U.S. Open Cup for the second year in a row. It’s been a rollercoaster and a half to get to this point, so we decided to recap the three most memorable moments from this years historic run.
3: No Sapong, no problem!
The motto for this final is #Unfinishedbusiness. It’s a hashtag that carries a lot of weight in this tournament, especially when you look at the Union’s game against DC United. The Washington side had knocked the Union out of both the 2011 and 2013 Open Cups, so revenge was on the mind. However star striker C.J Sapong was sent off in just the seventeenth minute, leaving the Union shorthanded for the majority of the game against a team who are easily one of the best in the Eastern Conference. But, the Union did the unthinkable. Against all odds, against storms, against a stronger opponent, they prevailed. The team rallied together for a 2-1 win over DC United and whilst we can’t really count the whole game as a memorable moment, we can count the reaction to Fabinho’s electrifying game winner. The fans were going crazy, the players were showing signs of raw passion and the stadium erupted. The dream was still alive and the business..was still unfinished.
2: Who’s the MacDaddy?
The game that started all was a showdown with the Rochester Rhinos. The USL side held the Union to a goalless draw and kept a pressing performance at bay throughout extra time. Meaning the Union were to endure a scenario that has seen even the most composed of footballers lose their touch..a penalty shootout. For Union fans, it was a time where heart rates could be felt pulsing throughout the stadium as tensions soared into the skies of PPL Park. But hometown hero John McCarthy held his nerve at the goal line, stopping every single penalty except one. McCarthy celebrated by throwing his helmet to the ground as his teammates swarmed around him. There was something special about that moment. It wasn’t just the incredible performance, it wasn’t just the atmosphere. It was what it meant to the team. To the fans. To the city.
1: Super Seb
For me, there was no greater moment in this Cup run than when Sebastien Le Toux, the Union’s most successful player and the leading all time scorer in the Open Cup found the back of the net in the Semi final against Chicago Fire. It was just so fitting. The Union dominated possession all game and Chicago did well to hold on..until the frenchman found a beautiful way to send his team through to the final. Months of excitement mixed with promise, doubt, anxiety, questionable league form, incredible moments and some bumpy delays all disappeared in an eruption of cheers. Sebastien Le Toux placed his team in to the final for the second time in a row. You couldn’t create a more euphoric moment if you tried. The question now is, will we see a new number one moment in three days time?
What was your favourite moment? Let us know in the comments, or tweet us! @PhiladelphiaSN