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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.

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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.

Report: Union to name Ernst Tanner sporting director to replace Stewart

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The Philadelphia Union appear to have their replacement for Earnie Stewart, who left his post as sporting director last month to take over a new role with the U.S. Men’s National Team.

[ MORE: PL clubs most affected by the World Cup ]

The Athletic’s Kristian Dyer is reporting that the Union have turned to former Red Bull Salzburg academy director Ernst Tanner to replace Stewart just a week after the latter officially left his role with the club to join the USMNT.

Tanner was in charge of developing Salzburg’s youth team, and has garnered a lot of attention throughout Europe by helping build a strong culture in Austria with the club.

He has also had experience in Germany with Hoffenheim and 1860 Munich, where he was in charge of youth development.

At Hoffenheim, he served as sporting director as well for a season. He headed a team back in 2010-11 that brought in a number of world-class talents including Roberto Firmino and Gylfi Sigurdsson.

USOC roundup: LAFC, Chicago join Philly, Houston in semis

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All four quarterfinals of the 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup were played on Wednesday, and not a single one of the fixtures required extra time or penalty kicks. The semifinal field is set, as follows…

[ MORE: Man City, USMNT’s Mix Diskerud loaned to South Korea ]

Los Angeles FC 3-2 Portland Timbers FULL HIGHLIGHTS

LAFC might be an expansion team in 2018, but Bob Bradley‘s bunch is headed to the semifinals of the Open Cup after narrowly outlasting the Portland Timbers on Wednesday.

Each side put the ball into the other team’s goal twice, but David Guzman’s early own goal — the game’s opening tally in the 33rd minute — proved the difference on the night. Carlos Vela made it 2-0 to LAFC just five minutes later, but Julio Cascante halved the lead in first-half stoppage time.

Two more goals, courtesy of Marco Ureña and Vytautas Andriuskevicius, came in quick succession early in the second half. It was 3-1 after 51 minutes, and 3-2 after 52.

A memorable night in Southern California was, however, marred by a racial slur which was allegedly lobbed at LAFC striker Adama Diomande.

Houston Dynamo 4-2 Sporting Kansas City — FULL HIGHLIGHTS

The defending holders of the Open Cup went ahead, through Johnny Russell, after two minutes, but proceeded to conceded the game’s next four goals — three of which came during a scintillating 34-minute stretch beginning in the 35th minute.

Romell Quioto scored nos. 1 and 2, followed by nos. 3 and 4 from Mauro Manotas to put the game away and brush aside a shorthanded, injury-stricken Sporting KC side playing its fourth game in 14 days (three of four have been on the road). Yohan Croizet pulled a goal back during second-half stoppage time, but it was far too little, too late.

Sporting head coach Peter Vermes held back very little as he lit into his players after the game.

“I thought some players gave everything they had. There were other players that didn’t give everything they had. More so, I think a couple guys gave up in the game. … You’re not going to win a game when you have certain players that just give up or don’t put the effort in like they have to. That’s the result you get.”

Chicago Fire 4-0 Louisville City — FULL HIGHLIGHTS

Chicago dispatched the last remaining lower-division team in this year’s tournament, smacking aside Louisville with a pair of first-half goals, followed by another paid during the final minute of the game and stoppage time.

Nemanja Nikolic and Aleksandar Katai did the damage in the first half, followed by Diego Campos and Elliot Collier in the 90th and 92nd minutes.

Philadelphia Union 1-0 Orlando City SCFULL HIGHLIGHTS

In the night’s opening game, Philadelphia got an early goal from Alejandro Bedoya and held on for the ensuing 86 minutes to knock off Orlando City at Talen Energy Stadium. It was Haris Medunjanin’s free kick which was headed across the face of goal by Fafa Picault, and Bedoya arrived late to poke the ball past backup goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr.

Semifinal draw

Thursday, July 19, 1:45 p.m. ET — on ussoccer.com

Schweinsteiger, Accam trade stoppage time goals in MLS thriller

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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. 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.

USOC: Sporting KC, Union join Timbers in quarterfinals

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A quick recap of Saturday’s action in the U.S. Open Cup round of 16…

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news | Sunday’s schedule, streams ]

Sporting Kansas City 3-2 FC Dallas

The 2017 Open Cup winners survived and outlasted the 2016 winners at Children’s Mercy Park, thanks to a brace from Daniel Salloi, and a serious contender for USOC Goal of the Tournament from Yohan Croizet which came just one minute before the end of regular time.

Dallas raced ahead of a frantic, haphazard Sporting KC side after just 18 minutes when Carlos Gruezo tapped home Michael Barrios’s chipped effort over goalkeeper Adrian Zendejas; but Salloi drew Sporting level just before halftime with his first of the night, poaching a tap-in of his own off Ike Opara in the 43rd minute.

Salloi’s second came 20 minutes into the second half, moments after shifting inside from the left wing and unloading from the edge of the box. Roland Lamah made it 2-2 in the 77th minute, though, capitalizing on a scramble in the box that saw Sporting unable to boot the ball clear on multiple occasions. 12 minutes later, Croizet went a long way toward quieting a few of his critics after a rough start to his time in MLS.

Sporting will face the winner of Monday’s clash between Houston Dynamo and Minnesota United.

Philadelphia Union 2-1 New York Red Bulls

Philadelphia joined Sporting and the Portland Timbers (winners over the LA Galaxy on Friday) in the quarters with a 2-1 win over the New York Red Bulls at Talen Energy Stadium.

Haris Medunjanin unleashed a rocket from distance and Cory Burke slotted past Luis Robles, in the 52nd and 61st minute, before Bradley Wright-Phillips pulled a goal back for the Red Bulls in the 77th.

Philadelphia will face the winner of D.C. United versus Orlando City SC (Wednesday) in the quarterfinals.

Elsewhere in USOC fifth round

Portland Timbers 1-0 LA Galaxy (Friday)

Remaining USOC fifth round schedule

Houston Dynamo vs. Minnesota United (Monday)
D.C. United vs. Orlando City SC (Wednesday)
Louisville City vs. Nashville SC (Wednesday)
Atlanta United vs. Chicago Fire (Wednesday)
Los Angeles FC vs. Sacramento Republic (Wednesday)