D.C. United lost 2-1 to the Philadelphia Union Tuesday night in a physical U.S. Open Cup round of 16 matchup in front of 3,276 at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds.
Antoine Hoppenot’s goal a minute and a half into the first overtime, past the outstretched leg of United goalie Bill Hamid, who had come out to challenge the rookie substitute, put the Union up to stay. Former United phenom Freddy Adu's left-footed pass set up Hoppenot’s game-winning goal.
Hoppenot almost scored in injury time but Hamid dove to his right to stop the potential game-winner, and the match went into overtime.
United controlled the action for most of the game but was unable to finish its chances, with Union goaltender Zac MacMath making several key saves.
It was a hard-fought, scrappy battle that the referees at times let get out of hand. In the 112th minute of action, United defender Brandon McDonald and Union defender Carlos Valdes were ejected with red cards because of their roles in a scuffle in front of the Union goal.
Several times apparent penalties did not get called. In the 72nd minute, Valdes blatantly elbowed United forward Maicon Santos but no whistle was made.
The match was scoreless during the first 45 minutes until each side found the back of the net in injury time.
Union midfielder Brian Carroll opened the scoring with a shot from just outside the penalty box, that bounced off of United defender Emiliano Dudar and past Hamid into the left side of the net.
On the next sequence, United midfielder Andy Najar lofted a beautiful ball from the right side of the field across to midfielder Nick DeLeon, stationed in front of the left side of the goal. DeLeon headed the ball to forward Josh Wolff, in front of the right side of the goal, and Wolff headed it into the corner of the net, sending United fan club Barra Brava into a frenzy.
It was a homecoming for Adu, the former child star who debuted at age 14 for D.C. United and whose family moved from Ghana to Rockville when he was eight. Adu has not become the superstar many had expected him to be, but he has been a solid player for several clubs in MLS and overseas.
The Union relied on Adu to take most of their corner kicks, although it may be as much because of his lack of height as his skill with set balls.
The Union will host the Harrisburg City Islanders in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup June 26. Open Cup matches do not count in the MLS standings. United (8-4-3) remains at the top of the MLS Eastern Conference Standings, while the Union sits two spots from the cellar at 2-7-2.
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