Union top angry Cosmos, advance in Open Cup

Union top angry Cosmos, advance in Open Cup
June 24, 2014, 10:00 pm
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Sebastien Le Toux's penalty kick goal in the 115th minute propelled the Union to a 2-1 win over the Cosmos. (USA Today Images)

CHESTER, Pa. -- For the second straight US Open Cup match, the Union came back to force extra time against their opponent. And for the second straight match, they came up big when it counted.

Sebastien Le Toux buried a penalty kick in the 115th minute to give his team the 2-1 extra-time win over the New York Cosmos on Tuesday at PPL Park in the fifth round of the Open Cup.

“We’d like to take care of things in regulation, but that’s how this competition looks,” said Union interim manager Jim Curtin, who is now 2-0. “You will always get the best punch from a team that plays in a lower division than you.”

The Union advance to the Open Cup quarterfinals, where they will face either the New England Revolution or Rochester Rhinos on July 8 at PPL Park.

“This club needs a trophy and now we’re three wins away.” Curtin said. “Our ownership has done a great job getting us home games. If you look through the history of this competition, the team that plays at home usually is the one that comes through. There’s two trophies in this country that you can lift and we want to lift the Open Cup, for sure.”

In the 113th minute, off a Sheanon Williams throw-in into the box, Cosmos defender and local product, Jimmy Ockford, collided with Maurice Edu in the crease. The ref immediately called a penalty kick for the Union.

Lining up, Le Toux went to the left and easily scored the PK for the 2-1 Union lead and eventual win. It was his second of the game.

“It was good, I was very confident, so I’m glad it went in,” Le Toux said. “I’m just glad we won tonight.”

Frustration got to the Cosmos late in extra time. Pushing and shoving just minutes after the goal led to three red cards -- one to Cosmos’ Ayoze and Ockford, and one to Union’s Michael Lahoud. Two Cosmos assistant coaches were also ejected.

Coming off an evenly played first half in which both teams lacked scoring punch, the Union and Cosmos looked primed for more of the same in the final 45 minutes.

But in the 56th minute, the contest exploded.

Moving into attacking territory, Cosmos midfielder Daniel Szetela patiently attracted a plethora of Union defenders at the top of the box, before dishing a lead pass to Alessandro Noselli on the right side. Union goalkeeper Andre Blake came out aggressively to make the play but was beat to the ball by Noselli, who scored over the rookie for the 1-0 Cosmos lead.

“Cosmos, they’re not your regular NASL team,” Union midfielder Amobi Okugo said. “They put a lot of effort and time into their team and they really wanted to make noise in this tournament. We did a good job holding firm and getting the win.”

Less than a minute later, the Union countered.

While the Cosmos were riding high from their score, Andrew Wenger grabbed possession in the visitor’s territory. From the right side, the Lancaster native crossed a low ball that beat the outstretched hands of goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer and was easily slammed home by Le Toux, tying the game at one.

“I feel pretty good,” said Le Toux, who admitted to suffering a back injury against the Seattle Sounders. “I really feel great. I’m 100 percent and I can see it on the field, my touch is better and I can run more, I’m not tired. I can help the team better so I think that’s why I had a good performance tonight.”

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