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Alberg Crushes City Islanders’ Rally for Union

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 06/15/16, 9:08PM EDT


Harrisburg scores twice late, but Philadelphia prevails 3-2 on last-gasp free kick

Photo courtesy Sideline Photos / Philadelphia Union

CHESTER, Pa. – The Harrisburg City Islanders surged back with two goals in the final 11 minutes to level the score, but a stoppage-time free kick by Ronald Alberg gave the Philadelphia Union a dramatic 3-2 victory in the Fourth Round of the 2016 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday night at Talen Energy Stadium.

Trailing 2-0 at the halftime break, Harrisburg rallied late as first Craig Foster and then Bobby Warshaw in stoppage time appeared to have sent the game to overtime. Alberg’s perfectly placed free kick with close to the final kick of the game grabbed victory for the hosts, however, leaving the City Islanders’ hopes of another MLS upset in the tournament dashed.

The Union grabbed an early lead as a deflected cross by Vincent Nogueira came to Walter Restrepo eight yards out, and he finished to put the City Islanders behind in just the third minute. Ilsinho also went close after quick one-two with Fabian Herbers, only to send his shot wide of the left post.

The City Islanders' best chances in the first half came from set pieces, and Shane Johnson sent an effort wide off a free kick in the 21st minute after a knock-down in the penalty area by Aaron Wheeler. The 6-foot-4 forward was disruptive against his former team as the City Islanders looked to send crosses into the penalty area.

Herbers came close to doubling the Union’s lead in the 31st minute as he ran onto a pass from Alberg, but his chipped finish past City Islanders goalkeeper Nick Noble went wide of the right post. Alberg would double the lead just before the halftime break, however, as a defensive giveaway allowed Herbers to play the Dutch midfielder in for a low finish.

Harrisburg had a good chance to cut into the Union’s lead early in the second half, but Shawn McLaws couldn’t make clean contact with a volley and sent it wide of the left post. Matt Bolduc also forced a good save by Union goalkeeper John McCarthy soon after as the City Islanders looked to find a way back into the game.

The City Islanders continued to look dangerous, and Jose Barril’s shot deflected wide off Wheeler inadvertently as he caught a good shot from 15 yards. Philadelphia quickly got back up the field, and Noble saved well to deny Ilsinho a third for the hosts. Noble also came up big to deny Herbers in the 62nd minute as the forward redirected a low cross from the left by Fabinho at the near post.

Harrisburg persisted, however, and pulled a goal back with 11 minutes to go as Foster sent a low shot through a sea of legs from 15 yards and into the left corner of the net to make it 2-1 to the Union. The City Islanders’ comeback hopes took a hit with two minutes to go when Barril was sent off for a tackle from behind on Leo Fernandes, but as the game entered stoppage time, Warshaw surged into the penalty area and sent a low shot into the right corner to level the score.

The City Islanders' comeback would be in vain, though, as soon after the equalizer a free kick was awarded to the Union 25 yards from goal. Alberg stepped up, and curled a perfect finish into the top-left corner of the net to send the hosts through to the Fifth Round.

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