You ca’t really be blamed for not knowing a lot about the US Open Cup. Despite the fact that it is the oldest soccer competition in the US, its not exactly in the national sports consciousness. The fact that its not televised, not really connected to MLS or have major sponsors… These all come together against the USOC.
However, the inescapable fact is that its silverware. And now that we are down to the semifinals, the remaining teams really care. Not only can they smell a chance to celebrate a title, they also see that slot in the CONCACAF Champions League that comes with a USOC win (that said, the CONCACAF CL may be even more of a dubious competition than the USOC).
The Philadelphia Union, who despite their recent run of form, have struggled through a mostly down season with this cup run being one of their few bright spots. They host Sporting KC tonight at PPL Park for the right to advance to the Open Cup Finals.
“To be in position to play in a final in our third year of existence, to have a chance at some hardware to put a banner in this building, all of those things are important.,” stated coach John Hackworth. “For our club, we honor the Open Cup and comprehend it’s a privilege to reach the semifinals. But we are not satisfied with that.”
Unlike the Union, Sporting KC has enjoyed a very good MLS campaign this season, with their one real notable blight being a recent 4-0 hammering at the hands of this very Philadelphia team.
“That game against Philadelphia was our worst game – and no, we did not forget about it,” stated KC centerback Aurélien Collin. “We had a very bad game. No excuses. Now we have to go there and be focused enough to not make the same mistakes.”
John Hackworth states that after reviewing the tape of that 4-0 win, he did not really feel the margin of victory was indicative of how the teams played and will not be letting his side get overconfident.
“We want to make the final,” stated Hackworth. “KC is a fantastic team and one of the ideal in the league for sure. We know it will be incredibly hard to duplicate the result we had before, we do not anticipate that to happen. It’ll be a good soccer game, two teams that are very motivated. We anticipate it to be fast and physical, you have two teams that are playing well right now. That was not a 4-0 game.”
Freddy Adu states the team is focused on winning silverware for themselves and the city.
“This means more than I can state for both me and my teammates. Bringing a trophy back to Philadelphia would be an honor – not to mention that this tournament really has been what has turned our season around. We all want to see it through.”
The game takes place tonight at PPL Park. If you do not get tickets, you will be able to see the game streamed live on the Philadelphia Union website.
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