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Men's Soccer vs. Brown Credit: Meredith Stern , Meredith Stern

The third round match of the U.S. Open Cup between the Ocean City Nor’easters and the MLS’ Philadelphia Union lived up to its pre-game hype, boasting an electric last-minute effort as both teams fought well into extra time to decide a winner.

While Penn’s own Duke Lacroix helped the Nor’easters fight to say in the contest, as they responded to an early Union goal, it wasn’t enough, as the Nor’easters couldn’t undo the late minute heroics of the MLS’ Philadelphia Union.

PPL Park hosted this matchup, pitting a legitimate MLS team against a franchise designed specifically to foster the development of young college talent in their transition to professional soccer.

This battle across the pitch provided great experience for the Nor’easters and gave teams like the Union a worthy opponent to keep sharp as they head deeper into the draw.

This match symbolized more than just another third-round formality for the Union, but marked a significant stepping stone for Union captain, Brian Carroll. His impact would be felt in the second half.

But the first half saw no scores for either team.

While Philadelphia generated a large number of chances, close to seven on goal throughout the duration, it was met by a tenacious Ocean City defense or mental mistakes by the Union preventing goals.

It wasn’t a lack of defense that kept the Nor’easters from pressuring the Union, but a lack of offense and consistently giving up the middle of the field that allowed Philadelphia to push the ball in front of the net. It showed a clear difference in strategy and cohesion.

However, the second half would tell a different story for both teams.

In the 49th minute, a beautiful cross from the Union’s Sebastian Le Toux allowed Jack McInerney to gently put the ball into the net, giving Philadelphia a 1-0 advantage.

With an aggressive Union offense consistently penetrating the Nor’easter box, Ocean City had to step up its game no matter how much time it took.

In the 90th minute, the Nor’easters crashed the Philadelphia box, creating a number of rebound opportunities eventually leading to an Emmanuel Kollie goal.

Soon thereafter, the official called for three extra minutes.

Philadelphia continued to pounce on the Nor’easters’ defense, favoring a right flank offense lead by the Union’s Danny Cruz. With the Ocean City defense on its heels, the extra minutes saw Le Toux strike a corner kick and Union captain, Carroll, bury a header on the inside of the post.

This third-round opportunity was a great experience for Penn’s Lacroix as he competed in a venue that he hopes to one day tread in an MLS uniform.

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