Adu helps Union oust United in U.S. Open Cup

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Sports,MLS,D.C. United,Craig Stouffer

Philly knocks out D.C. in the U.S. Open Cup

Freddy Adu celebrated his Montgomery County homecoming by assisting on the game-winning goal in overtime to send the Philadelphia Union to a 2-1 victory over D.C. United at Maryland SoccerPlex, knocking his former team out in the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup.

Playing in the county where he was raised and lived when he signed with D.C. United in 2004, Adu delivered a pinpoint through ball to Antoine Hoppenot who beat Bill Hamid in the 92nd minute to break a second-half deadlock.

"This field, growing up we played here all the time, and it brings back great memories," Adu said. "Just coming back, having friends and family here to watch and set that game-winner up, especially against your former team, it's nice. I'm just happy for our team because we're having a pretty tough season so far, and to have a little run like this is really nice."

The victory sent the Union into the knockout tournament's quarterfinals and provided revenge for a penalty kick shootout defeat to D.C. at the same venue in U.S. Open Cup qualifying last season.

The tense battle came to life just before halftime on the visitors' fluke goal. Seconds into stoppage time, former United midfielder Brian Carroll's shot took a deflection off a D.C. defender's arm, wrong footing Hamid.

But United couldn't have answered any faster. Andy Najar's long cross to the back post found Nick DeLeon, who headed it back across goal for Josh Wolff's easy game-tying nod before both teams headed to their locker rooms.

With both teams in the midst of a break from league play, full-strength squads were on display.

Philadelphia had a trio of chances in the 14th minute, starting with a Carlos Valdes free kick denied by a sprawling Hamid. Josue Martinez pounced on the rebound, but it was cleared off the line by Daniel Woolard, and Gabriel Farfan's shot then went high.

Pajoy had far less of an excuse when he shanked a wide open chance from 12 yards after Martinez raced to the end line.

Hamid and Philadelphia goalkeeper Zac MacMath ensured the game would go to overtime, with MacMath denying Maicon Santos with a kick save in the 80th minute and Hamid preventing a near certain match winner from Hoppenot in the dying moments of regulation.

Hamdi Salihi's blast was saved by MacMath in the 110th minute, and both teams played with 10 men for the overtime's final 10 minutes after Valdes and D.C. defender Brandon McDonald were red carded following a scuffle in the box.

United came into the night having won five of their last six matches in all competitions.

"This really does show us that we're not as good as we think we are," United coach Ben Olsen said. "All the little things that got us success up to this point we forgot about tonight. There were signs that we were forgetting about that over the last couple of games, and we've been squeaking by. And tonight we didn't squeak by, and it's a good thing."

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Craig Stouffer

Staff writer - sports
The Washington Examiner