Ahead of the two U.S. Open Cup semifinals on Wednesday, let’s take a look at both matchups.
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Four teams from Major League Soccer have made it this far, as the Philadelphia Union host Chicago Fire at PPL Park and Sporting Kansas City welcome old foes Real Salt Lake to Sporting Park.
Below is a brief primer on each match, plus links to stream both matches online via U.S. Soccer’s YouTube channel.
Philadelphia Union vs. Chicago Fire – 7:30 p.m. ET, live online via U.S. Soccer
The Union love a good Open Cup run, don’t they? All might not be well for Jim Curtin’s side in MLS play but they were runners up last year to the Seattle Sounders (courtesy of a crushing extratime defeat at their own stadium) and host Chicago at PPL Park on Wednesday. Their route to this semifinal has been a complicated one, as they’ve rallied to win twice when down to 10-men and have also come through two penalty shootouts unscathed. Captain Maurice Edu is likely to return for the Union as they aim to make the final for the second-straight year.
As for Chicago, their MLS form leaves a lot to be desired too as the two bottom teams in the Eastern Conference square off. What’s all that about? Anyway, the winner of this match knows that they will host the U.S. Open Cup final, and Chicago’s boss Frank Yallop is adamant his side can rise to the occasion and bring the Open Cup back to Chicago for the fifth-time in club history to equal the competition’s record number of titles.
Sporting Kansas City vs. Real Salt Lake – 8:30 p.m. ET, live online via U.S. Soccer
These two familiar foes will lock horns at a packed out Sporting Park on Wednesday with plenty stored in the memory bank. Remember the 2013 MLS Cup final which went to an epic 10-round penalty shootout in KC where Sporting prevailed? This could be very feisty as RSL have already beaten SKC twice this season and drew on the other occasion against Peter Vermes’ team.
RSL rested several starters at the weekend and were demolished 4-0 by the Vancouver Whitecaps, but head coach Jess Cassar has defended that decision. For Sporting KC, they will definitely be without Roger Espinoza and Amobi Okugo and Graham Zusi could join them on the sidelines. A lively home crowd and a rested Dom Dwyer could give SKC the advantage they need to reach the final.