City Islanders Face Philadelphia Union in U.S. Open Cup Round 4 Wednesday
Harrisburg, PA - The opportunity for City Islanders FC to advance to the quarterfinals of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup will now go through very familiar opposition against the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday, June 15 at Talen Energy Stadium.
All Islanders fans will have the option to buy discounted tickets in section 133 at a rate of $15 by Tuesday, June 14 at 10 a.m.
How they got here:
City defeated West Chester 2-0 in the second round bolstered by goals from Bobby Warshaw and Matthew Bolduc. In the third round, City needed a late rally in the last 20 minutes. Goals from Paul Wilson and Craig Foster allowed City to get passed Chattanooga to set up the matchup with the Union.
The Union has not played a U.S. Open Cup match this year but have been to the final in the previous two tournaments. However, they have failed to hoist the trophy in both attempts. Last season they fell to Sporting Kansas City and in 2014 they fell short to Seattle Sounders FC.
Who to watch for:
Even with a shutout on their record, the Islanders are still averaging just over 2 goals per game in their last five outings. Scoring has come from a variety of players with Paul Wilson leading the pack with 11 total points. Aaron Wheeler has been a big bodied force in the attacking position with his teammates getting the ball into advantageous spots for the tall forward.
City also has a barrage of speedy attackers in Wilson, Foster and Cardel Benbow to push the opposition's defensive line back into their own goalkeeper. The speed through the midfield has also been a strong point for the team all season.
Philadelphia is in the midst of having one of their best seasons in club history. They have not lost a game at home yet and currently sit at the top spot of the Eastern Conference tables. The Union offense is led by Christian Pontius who has five goals and four assists on the season. C.J. Sapong has also tallied five total goals.
The history between the two clubs is extensive as they were affiliates for each other for multiple years and involved in many friendly matches and competitive matches over the course of both team's existence.
Despite the two teams playing every season in a friendly fashion this will be the first competitive match since the 2014 U.S. Open Cup. That season City traveled to Talen Energy Stadium in the exact same situation with a chance to move on to the final eight left in the tournament. The Union defeated the Isles 3-1 en route to their first finals appearance.
Since entering the tournament in 2007,the Islanders have made it as far as the quarterfinals four times while going head to head with numerous MLS teams. In 2007, the team soared past D.C United in the third round, ending with a 0-1 victory and facing the New England Revolution in the quarterfinals; in 2009, they avenged their 2007 loss and defeated the New England Revolution 2-1, securing their place in the semifinals once again against D.C. United. The following year, the Islanders beat the New York Red Bulls 0-1 and faced D.C. United in the semifinals.
City's best result in the U.S. Open Cup tournament was in 2012 when they made an improbable run through two MLS teams in dramatic fashion. Again that year they were matched up against then affiliate the Philadelphia Union, but this time in the quarterfinals with Philadelphia winning 5-2 to advance to the semifinals.
Whoever is able to come out on top in Philadelphia will face off against either the MLS New York City FC or NASL New York Cosmos in the USOC quarterfinals. If the Isles are able to pull off the upset it will be their first trip passed the fourth round in four years.
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