The Union eliminated the New York Red Bulls to advance to the quarterfinals of the Leagues Cup.
Now, a date with Queratero is ahead. Should the Union win, Chester, Pennsylvania, is likely getting a visit from the GOAT early next week.
It wasn’t pretty, but the Union got it done by eliminating the Red Bulls in yet another competition. It took another penalty shootout, but as they say, survive and advance.
It was another edition of this NYRD-Union rivalry. The two teams meet twice yearly and have made it a tradition to meet in elimination games. A very feisty Jim Curtin let everyone know post-game the Union has been dominant over the years.
After last night’s game, Curtin took to the podium and went on a rare tangent against the opposing team. Being upset with the shenanigans and trash talk from NYRB, Curtin stated:
“For a team to be in 21st place and talk and run their mouths as much as they do on the field, to beat here 11 times in a row by us is something.”
Curtin rarely, if ever, goes against opponents in such a manner. However, he is not wrong. This is becoming a heated MLS rivalry. One the Union has dominated in recent years.
The two clubs meet in Subaru Park on September 3rd, back in MLS play. Be sure both teams have that one circled.
Meeting a Familiar Foe
Now, awaiting the Union is one of the two remaining LIGA MX teams, Queretaro. No, you are not having Deja Vu. The two sides met in the group stage just over a week ago. A game the Union would see to a 5-1 victory.
However, since that game, Queretaro has been the surprise of the tournament. Knocking out fellow LIGA MX side Pumas and then the New England Revolution, Queretaro has eliminated some formidable opponents. The last matchup between the two should not have much bearing on this game. Both teams have been playing differently since.
For the Union, their change in play may be forced upon them. Unfortunately, the Union lost Daniel Gazdag in the game against NYRB. Gazdag injured his knee in a nasty fall and did not return to the game. It is unclear of the extent of his injury, but with a rapid turnaround, it would be surprising to see Gazadag play in the quarterfinals.
The quick turnaround is something to keep an eye on. Due to a severe weather postponement of the Union game Monday, the Union only gets 2 days off. Jim Curtin will have to balance a lineup capable of getting a victory and keeping track of the number of minutes on the players’ legs. The Union already lost Gazdag; any more losses will really hinder their run in MLS.
A Date With Messi Looms
It is no secret the star of this tournament is Lionel Messi. He is the GOAT for a reason. Messi and Miami now host Charlotte in their quarterfinal. Should Messi continue tearing through this tournament, Miami will face the winner of Union-Queratero.
The Union and its fans absolutely need to focus on their plate first. However, it is hard not to look forward to the possibility of the GOAT coming to town. The Union does have to host priority on the entire eastern side of the bracket. Suppose it is Union-Miami in the semifinals. It will be in Chester, PA.
The Union and Miami do faceoff next year, but a date with the GOAT could come very early.
Photo: Wes Shepherd/PHLSportsNation