While the Union’s MLS season may be lost, there’s still some hardware to play for. But they will need to go through a familiar opponent to get it.
On June 17 at PPL Park, the Union will face the Harrisburg City Islanders in the fourth round of the 2014 U.S. Cup.
Considered a minor league developmental affiliate of the Union, the City Islanders, out of USL PRO, have a plethora of Union property on their roster. Players like draft picks Richie Marquez, Yann Ekra and Pedro Ribeiro, along with homegrown talents Jimmy McLaughlin and Cristhian Hernandez. The City Islanders also feature former Union draft selection Robbie Derschang and speedster Morgan Langley.
According to Open Cup rules, MLS-controlled players can suit up for an affiliate if they have played in multiple Open Cup tournament games for the affiliate club.
The City Islanders are coming off a 4-2 road win over the Baltimore Bohemians after qualifying with a 4-0 victory over FC Lehigh Valley. The City Islanders fell to the Union, 5-2, in the 2012 Open Cup quarterfinals.
The Union hope their 2014 Open Cup follows the same path of D.C. United in 2013, when Ben Olsen’s struggling team knocked the Union out of the tournament before winning the championship over the Chicago Fire. The United won more Open Cup games than they did regular season MLS matches, as they finished the year with a 3-24-7 record. The Union are currently 2-7-5.
The match marks the fifth time the Union will participate in the oldest soccer tournament in the United States, which features soccer clubs of all levels and leagues. The Union lost twice in qualification between making it to the semifinals in 2012.