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Goals galore put Philadelphia, Houston in US Open Cup final

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The 2018 U.S. Open Cup final matchup is set, and if the semifinals are any indication, the title bout will be a barnburner.

First, the Philadelphia Union reached its third U.S. Open Cup semifinal in the last five years with a comprehensive 3-0 win over the Chicago Fire. The winners deserved their victory, with the first goal a stunning feat of teamwork between Alejandro Bedoya, Borek Dockal, and goalscorer Cory Burke.

Bedoya with the audacious chipped delivery, and Burke with the strong, messy finish.

Burke did it again 11 minutes later, beating two defenders and the goalkeeper to put Philadelphia 2-0 up, and then C.J. Sapong picked up Philly’s third with minutes to spare thanks to great touchline work by Fabrice Picault. Philadelphia held just 44% possession, but obliterated Chicago in the shot count 22-8, with a 7-1 advantage on target.

The Union will take on the Houston Dynamo who topped Western Conference contenders LAFC on penalties in dramatic fashion after a 3-3 draw. Diego Rossi scored a hat-trick to complete a comeback after LAFC fell behind 3-1, with the equalizer coming four minutes into extra time.

Houston took a two-goal lead thanks to Memo Rodriguez who came off the bench and earned his way onto the scoresheet just three minutes later. He cut inside on his right foot and fired a low shot into the bottom left corner that LAFC goalkeeper Tyler Miller will want back.

With Houston up 3-1, Rossi grabbed his second in the 78th minute before the equalizer – a spectacular goal, as Rossi capitalized on a mistake by Houston goalkeeper Joe Willis. The 29-year-old netminder came off his line to punch the ball, and with the goal guarded by just three defenders on the line, Rossi headed it from a great distance out on the right edge of the penalty area, looping the ball over Willis and threading it behind the three defenders into the back of the net from a tight angle.

https://twitter.com/LAFC/status/1027380526460465152/video/1

After a goalless extra time, Houston redeemed itself and took it on penalties. The shootout went eight rounds, with LAFC missing for a second time in Round 8 as Latif Blessing’s weak effort was saved by Willis going down to the goalkeeper’s right.

Houston will be playing for its first U.S. Open Cup, as does Philadelphia who looks to avoid being the first team to lose three finals.

Schweinsteiger, Accam trade stoppage time goals in MLS thriller

@PhilaUnion
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MLS gives us finishes this silly seemingly on the regular, so why does it surprise us when they arrive on our doorstep?

Ex-Chicago Fire man David Accam bagged a goal for his Philadelphia Union in the fourth minute of stoppage time on Wednesday. It was the seventh goal of the game, and came one minute after the Fire scored their third equalizer of the night.

Got all that?

Haris Medunjanin scored a pretty goal and Cory Burke netted twice, and the Union won a wild, back-and-forth 4-3 draw win over the Fire on Wednesday.

[ MORE: Medina leads NYCFC win ]

The win boosts Philly into seventh, tied on points with sixth place Montreal and a point clear of the Fire.

The scoring started with Medunjanin’s cool as a cucumber finish.Ā The Bosnian midfielder took advantage of a bad Chicago giveaway, punctuating the effort with a classy finish.

Soon-to-be Designated Player Aleksandar Katai scored and earned a PK for Chicago, converted by Nemanja Nikolic for a ninth goal of the season, and

Katai also scored his ninth goal, and it comes on the day Chicago announced his permanent transfer from Alaves.

Burke scored his first go-ahead goal in first half stoppage time, adding a second minutes after Katai bagged his marker.

But Bastian Schweinsteiger made it 3-3. Well, for a minute or so.

USMNT 1-0 Jamaica: Morris goal rewards U.S. for attacking intent

Associated Press
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It took 58 minutes of promising yet unproductive attacking play, but the United States eventually was rewarded for a positive mindset as Jordan Morris’ goal lead the U.S. to a 1-0 win over Jamaica in the conclusion of January camp.

Bruce Arena started a number of fringe players looking for somebody to impress, and a few did just that as Dax McCarty distributed well, Benny Feilhaber was the focal point of the attack, and Sebastian Lletget proved a menace down the left in a game that hardly tested the U.S. back line.

The U.S. began strongly, with a 4-1-3-2 formation putting pressure on the Jamaica midfield. McCarty had the game’s first big chance in the 7th minute as he rose high to head Feilhaber’s corner just inches over the bar. What a fascinating first goal of the Arena x2 era that would have been.

Jamaica’s Ewan Grandison earned the game’s first yellow inside the opening 10 minutes after he was dispossessed in his own half and then scythed down Sebastian Lletget. There was a stoppage in play in the 24th minute as Jamaica broke, Cory Burke picked out a nice backheel but crashed into Chris Pontius just after, with their knees colliding. Both players were able to continue.

[ MORE: Three things we learned about USMNT vs. Jamaica ]

The turf played a significant role throughout the game, with the ball bouncing more than usual. The U.S. held much of the possession up through the half-hour mark, but struggled with ideas in the final third. Jamaica had a big moment in the 33rd minute that saw a bad miss. A counter-attack came down the right as Cory Burke beat Graham Zusi to the ball and fed Romario Williams at point blank range in front of the net. Luis Robles came out to block the cross, but he deflected it straight to Williams who should have scored, but missed badly with the goal gaping.

Minutes later the U.S. will feel they missed a chance of their own as Juan Agudelo headed a ball forward to spring Jordan Morris, but the young Sounders striker took just slightly too long, and it was smothered by Jamaican goalkeeper Andre Blake. On the ensuing corner, LletgetĀ came inches away from the opener again with a beautiful curling ball that just missed the top corner.

Overall, the first half proved promising, but there was also a lack of execution up front and some sloppy play along with it. Arena only made one change out of the break, swapping Luis Robles in goal for Dave Bingham.

Finally, the breakthrough for the United States came 13 minutes after halftime. With the U.S. again holding much of the meaningful possession, Feilhaber played a perfect one-two to unlock the Jamaica back line, and this time Morris finished the chance clinically for the 1-0 lead.

Immediately after scoring, Bruce Arena replaced Feilhaber and McCarty with Michael Bradley and Darlington Nagbe. The game snoozed its way to completion, with Jamaica not threatening to draw level. Agudelo had a chance with nine minutes remaining as a cross came in from the right but his header was flubbedĀ under heavy pressure from a defender.

The final whistle came and gave Arena a second clean sheet of January camp, and more importantly a win moving into World Cup qualifying.