Open Cup Primer: Union look to get at least one step further in 2011

Posted on 04 April 2011 by Breton Bonnette

It’s a double dose of DOOP in the week ahead as the Union will test their depth in both Open Cup and regular season play. Both teams are coming off of losses and on short rest so you can expect to see blend of starters and reserves. Nowak hasn’t been as vocal as last season about how he is going to treat the Open Cup in 2011 but hopefully, however he decides to go about it, the outcome is different.

Philadelphia Union at DC United
Wednesday, April 6, 2011, 7:30PM
Maryland SoccerPlex, Boyds, MD

Game Notes:

The Union are looking to bounce back after a 1-0 loss to Los Angeles. The Galaxy were coming off a 4-1 loss to Real Salt Lake and DC United on Sunday will be coming off a similar result as they were punished by the Colorado Rapids (defending MLS champs) for a second half defensive lapse.

The Union have only given up one goal in their first three games of the season but the offense has only produced two. Despite their lack of production, the Union still sit atop the Eastern Conference with six points. Their attacking performance in Los Angeles, however, was anemic to say the least. No shots. Not a good habit to get into. 

United’s Open Cup luck worked for them yet again, scoring “homefield” advantage at Maryland SoccerPlex after an early March coin toss. DC hasn’t played a road game in Open Cup qualification or the tournament proper in almost four years.  

Last season, in their first Open Cup qualifying match vs. the Red Bulls, the Union failed to show up on all ends losing 2-1 in a lackluster affair. Rookie Conor Chinn, no longer with New York, scored two goals before the end of the first half to give the Red Bulls enough of a lead to hold on to. An injury scare to Sebastien Le Toux was the biggest event of the match for the Union as he was stretchered off late in the game.  

A win over DC would be the first of three possible Open Cup qualifiers. The next match, however, would be played at PPL Park (or a smaller local venue) vs. the New England Revolution. The last and final qualifier would be against the winner of Kansas City or Houston.  

United has won the Open Cup title twice, most recently in 2008.

Personnel Notes:

The Union should be particularly aware of Blake Brettschneider, a rookie that earned his first MLS minutes after an impressive reserve league appearance. He wasn’t outmatched and created United’s best chance in their 4-1 loss to the Rapids. If given the chance, he could be this season’s Conor Chinn. Fellow rookie Chris Korb, an Akron product, had a decent showing at fullback for United as well.

Everybody’s favorite American striker (and sadly, a United player) Charlie Davies sat out Sunday’s loss to Colorado due to a groin injury but the club is confident he’ll be ready for the Open Cup match up. He could play a big part if healthy.

An unlikely Man of the Match came out of Saturday’s loss to Los Angeles for the Union. Trinidad and Tobago international Keon Daniel was a huge bright spot on the wing for the Union after coming in for Danny Mwanga early in the second half. Daniel should see a start in Wednesday night’s match-up, as should another Saturday substitute standout Roger Torres. Despite the late ejection of Jack McInerney on Saturday, the suspension doesn’t carry over into Open Cup play. Jack Mac should get the start, especially if Sebastien Le Toux and his nagging ankle injury are rested ahead of this coming Saturday’s showdown with the Red Bulls.

Amobi Okugo and Zac MacMath will miss their third club match as the US U-20 MNT continue their quest for a World Cup berth. DC United will be missing Perry Kitchen, a starter early on, for the same reason. The U-20s play Guatemala in Guatemala City in the Quarterfinals at 10:00PM EST on April 6th. If won, the semifinal will fall on April 8th with the final scheduled for the 10th. It’s a long stretch for the youngsters. In their group clinching win, a 2-0 result over Panama, MacMath grabbed the shutout while Amobi Okugo was tethered to the bench, preventative care as Okugo – having picked up a yellow card in the last match – didn’t want to risk suspension for the quarterfinals and beyond.

Former Union player Fred should see an extended run vs. his former team on Wednesday night. He was a second-half sub in United’s 4-1 loss to Colorado after most of the damage had already been done.

Quote of the week goes to United’s stand-in goalkeeper Pat Onstad when asked about the 4-1 loss to Colorado: “It was an absolute full kick in the nards”. Hopefully the traveling Union supporters (a whole slew of them we hear) and the Union can deliver another “kick in the nards” come Wednesday night.

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  1. The Philly Soccer Page » Union take on DC in Open Cup, more news Says:

    […] ASN Philly has game and personnel notes for tonight’s Open Cup Match against DC United. […]

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