Loons win penalty-kick thriller over Philadelphia in US Open Cup
After a 3-3 draw, United edged Union 7-6 in penalty kicks.
ST. PAUL -- Bongi Hlongwane had a massive influence on the U.S. Open Cup round of 32 match at Allianz Field on Tuesday.
Minnesota United’s South African attacker produced three goal contributions — two scored and one assisted.
Kai Wagner had a huge impact of his own. The Philadelphia Union fullback scored equalizers in the 94th minute to force extra time and in the 120th to force penalty kicks.
After a 3-3 draw, United edged Union 7-6 in penalty kicks. Irwin made two saves, including the clincher against Wagner in the final round.
The Loons needed everything from Hlongwane because yet again they gave away leads in St. Paul this season. In four previous home MLS games, Minnesota gave up leads and was winless in all of them.
But MNUFC gave their fans a home victory, they were able to sing “Wonderwall” and the Loons advanced to the Open Cup round of 16 on May 23 or 24. The draw for the opponent and location will be Thursday.
After subbing on in the 63rd minute, Hlongwane scored on a DJ Taylor cross in the 68th minute and he assisted on Rosales’ goal in the 74th minute.
The Loons were up 2-0, but the Union — one of the most successful teams in MLS in recent years — showed why they are always a threat. They scored in the 78th and netted an equalizer in the 94th and final minute to force the added extra time.
To break a 2-2 tie, Hlongwane redirected Rosales’ cross in the 103rd minute.
In the last minute of added extra time, Wil Trapp fouled near the edge of the 18-yard box and Wagner nailed a free kick.
Up 2-0, it looked like MNUFC would cruise, but Trapp’s clearance was blocked and Philadelphia’s Chris Donovan capitalized for a goal in the 78th.
Then in the last minute, Hlongwane missed a tackle which led to a cross to Wagner, whom Zarek Valentin left open at the back post and Wagner banged in the equalizer.
The Loons rarely threatened Union goalkeeper Andre Blake in the first half, and the Jamaican wasn’t forced to make a save. Meanwhile, Clint Irwin had to make only one stop of Mikael Uhre’s dipping attempt in the 35th minute.
Loons kept the 3-5-2 formation they used in the final 25 minutes of Saturday’s loss to Vancouver: Micky Tapias, Brent Kallman and Michael Boxall. Kemar Lawrence and Taylor were wingbacks.
Robin Lod was in the middle of a three-man midfield, with Hassani Dotson and Rosales on either side. Lod, who was booked with a yellow card in first half, exited for Trapp at halftime.
Strikers Mender Garcia and Sang Bin Jeong — who scored his first MLS goal Saturday — had a quiet hour shift and were subbed out for Franco Fragapane and Hlongwane.
Philadelphia Union lost to eventual Open Cup champion Orlando City in the round of 32 last year.
Emanuel Reynoso’s physical exam went well Monday and he did some light work on the field Tuesday, a source told the Pioneer Press. The MLS All-Star midfielder will continue to meet with the league this week in efforts to have his suspension lifted. It’s still deemed too early to know when Reynoso might return to game action. While he reportedly was working with a neighborhood team in Argentina, he hasn’t played a professional game since Oct. 17. … Former Minnesota Ms. Soccer Maddie Dahlien of Edina has been called into the U.S. women’s youth national team for Concacaf Under-20 Championship in the Dominican Republic on May 24-June 3. The forward had four goals and three assists for a University of North Carolina team that reached the NCAA final in 2022. … Damion Lowe, who played for Loons pre-MLS in 2016, started for Philadelphia. After playing 2,200 minutes in one year for Minnesota, he went to Tampa Bay Rowdies, Start (Norway), Phoenix Rising, Al Ittihad Al Iskandary (Egypt) and Inter Miami before Union. … Jim Wolford — the CEO and co-founder of Atomic Data, a longtime MNUFC sponsor — died Friday. The Loons had a remembrance for him at halftime Tuesday.
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