The final day of Generation Adidas Cup Eastern Regional Qualifying in Sanford Florida would see DC United and New England Revolution battle in the opening match of the day. The day would continue as group leaders Toronto FC and New York Red Bulls duked it out and hosts Orlando City SC would wrap the weekend up with Philadelphia Union.
DC United 2-0 New England Revolution
The final day of Eastern Regional Qualifying began with DC United taking on New England Revolution. A win for DC United would put the pressure on New York and Toronto who were leading the group entering the final day.
DC United came out of the gates quick and poured on the pressure and it took just six minutes for it to pay dividends. A United winger took the ball to the byline on an impressive run and crossed the ball to the feet of Sahr Felix Sandy who easily slotted the ball in the back of the net from six yards out for a 1-0 lead.
The rest of the half slowly settled and evened out with both clubs struggling to create clear cut opportunities.
The second half produced more chances for both clubs, as the Revs looked to get back into the match and DC aimed to lock up a potential top two finish in the group.
The first 15 minutes of the half saw both teams have chances on breakaways but neither were able to find the final ball and finish their opportunities.
A familiar face would eventually break the lively second half deadlock. United’s first half scorer Sahr Felix Sandy was gifted a ball in the six yard box with little to do but connect his foot to the ball to finish and he made no mistakes about it giving United a 2-0 lead.
New England, however, weren’t going down without a fight. Three minutes before the final whistle the Revs would pull one back from the penalty spot. A shove in the back from a DC United defender sent New England’s Isaac Angking to the spot and he confidently finished making it 2-1.
Unfortunately for the Revs it was too little too late. For DC United the win put them on 12 points and needing either New York or Toronto to lose in the next match during regular time in order to finish second in the group.
New York Red Bulls 2-2 (9-8 in PK’s) Toronto FC:
Yes, you read that scoreline correctly. The second match between the New York Red Bulls and Toronto FC was an epic clash. Both clubs needed to win to ensure they finished in the top two of the group and neither disappointed.
Toronto thought they took the lead in 15th minute on an excellent free kick that beat the wall and the keeper but the referee spoiled the celebration. Toronto were questionably called for a push in the wall and the game continued on, 0-0.
Toronto’s fortunes would take a turn for the better just five minutes later. Shaun Hundal drove down the middle of the field and struck a perfect low shot just passed the Red Bull keeper’s hands and into the corner of the net making it 1-0 for TFC.
Toronto would carry their momentum to the second half in the early minutes as they broke the Red Bulls’ defense yet again. Shaun Hundal claimed his brace as the ball fell to him in the box in a chaotic play. The keeper was left with no chance and Hundal coolly finished to make it 2-0.
New York had a response up their sleeves though. In the 55th minute an errant back pass from TFC to their keeper was intercepted by New York’s Ben Mines. TFC’s keeper came out to challenge but Mines rounded him and passed the ball into the back of the net to put New York back in the match.
Following the goal New York continued to be the aggressor looking for the equalizer to keep their hopes of a top two finish alive.
New York’s hopes would be answered. In the 74th minute, a Toronto turnover in the middle of the park sparked a Red Bull attack the other way. The 4 v 4 break opened TFC’s defense and New York’s Zachary Ryan finished well to even the game and complete the epic comeback.
Regulation would soon end 2-2 and the match would require penalties and both clubs showed their class. Toronto were safe and would advance regardless of result but for New York they had to win to ensure second place in the group.
The clubs would exchange converting kicks for the first eight rounds of penalties in a tremendous display of nerve and finishing ability. New York’s keeper would finally make a save in the 9th round and TFC would hit the post in the 10th round and the match would in favor of New York 9-8 in penalties.
Orlando City SC 1-1 (3-4 in PK’s) Philadelphia Union:
The dramatics continued on to the concluding match of the weekend as hosts Orlando City faced off with the Philadelphia Union.
The opening half was a scoreless period. Orlando struggled to create any substantial opportunities in the final third as their attack lacked any potency. Fortunately for City, Philadelphia didn’t fare much better as their attack could only produce a few half chances.
The second half would see things change for both teams. Philadelphia made an important change during intermission bringing on Anthony Fontana to help the attack and he didn’t let his coaches down.
Twelve minutes into the second half Fontana gave the Union the 1-0 lead as he sliced through the City defense and left the keeper with no chance on a nice finish.
The Union goal sparked an Orlando City assault the rest of the half. The hosts went on the attack and their efforts would pay off.
In the 73rd minute a hard foul from The Union five yards from the top of the box gave the Lions a threatening free kick. City’s Austin Amer stepped up and fired a laser that left the Philly keeper waving at the air as the ball went into the back of the net.
Regulation ended with both clubs knotted up at 1-1 and the match went to penalties. The Union went on to win 4-3 as The Union keeper would make two tremendous saves in the third and fifth rounds to end Philly’s weekend with a win.