But for his faults in that regard, Adu was the catalyst who secured the Union its first trip to the quarterfinals as a goal 1 minute, 20 seconds into the extra time from rookie Antoine Hoppenot secured a 2-1 victory. With the win, the Union hosts minor league affiliate Harrisburg City in the quarterfinal round on June 26. Harrisburg City pulled off an upset of its own, beating Red Bull New York, 3-1.
Right off the bat, it was evident Hoppenot was feeling it. He nearly scored his second in the 105th minute with a strike from just outside United’s 18-yard-box that caromed off the post. Right before regulation, a low cross in the box from Michael Farfan, found Hoppenot in stride, but before he could get a shot off, the attempt was gobbled by United goalkeeper Bill Hamid.
"We talked about this game the whole week," Hoppenot said. "We knew who we were getting ready for, and we needed to get a win, and coach [Peter] Nowak put me in the game and he told me to just go out there and do what I do, and I mean I got a goal today so I am happy about that."
In the overtime, when fatigue should have set in, the Union played spirited, creating chances and shooting from distance.
The inclusion of Hoppenot and fellow rookie Chandler Hoffman added a spark up top. With a young crew the Union finally looked like the team Nowak swore for months it was — creative and quite the handful when playing cohesively.
It was the Union that struck first in stoppage time of the first half after Brian Carroll had a shot that deflected into goal, but before one could acknowledge the Union’s tally, less than 10 seconds later, a cross into the box from United midfielder Nick DeLeon found veteran forward Josh Wolff, who pounded the equalizer past Zac MacMath.
"We stuck together. We didn’t let them push us around, I felt as if we were the ones doing the pushing," midfielder Brian Carroll said.
"Anytime you have an Open Cup game at the ’Plex, it just seems like a wild game. We score a weird goal and then they score a goal 30 seconds later. We had opportunities to finish it off in regulation, but I think Antoine wanted to play some more minutes."
MacMath, who missed three matches because of repeat concussions, was cleared earlier in the day by the club’s medical staff . Doing his best Petr Cech impersonation, the 21-year-old goalkeeper wore a protective helmet and a bright, yellow uniform.
MacMath made four saves on six shots on target and, for the most part, played big.
"Personally, it just feels good to be back on the field again," MacMath said. "I played a good [120 minutes], it was a little longer than I would have wanted for my first game back, but I’ll take it and I am very happy the team got the win.
The Union enjoys little rest before its next match on Saturday against PDL affiliate Reading United (7 p.m.). After the quarterfinal vs. Harrisburg, MLS play resumes for the Union on June 16 against?…?D.C. United.
“Obviously beating the division-leading D.C. United is big for our confidence," MacMath said.
"It just goes to show that we are better than our record shows and we got to bring that into [league play]. This break has been very good for us, and I hope we can continue that. It’s all about hitting your stride at the right time, and I hope finally for us, we are doing that." n
Contact Kerith Gabriel at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @sprtswtr.