D.C. United seemed primed for advancement in the 2015 US Open Cup Round of 16 tilt against the Philadelphia Union after Jairo Arrieta knocked the Black-and-Red ahead after 27 minutes. But Arrieta's goal, two minutes after CJ Sapong was sent off for the Union, was erased in the second half, as the Union came back for a 2-1 win to move on to the quarter finals.
After a nearly 50 minute rain delay in the first half, Sapong was sent for an elbow while challenging Kofi Opare for a header. Arrieta then turned in a cross from Miguel Aguilar, but second half goals from Eric Ayuk and Fabinho helps the Union on to face the winner of the New York Red Bulls and New York Cosmos in the quarterfinals.
In a rain drenched game, the Union got off to a quick start, with Cristian Maidana seeing his early effort deflected out on a counter attack. RIchie Marquez should have nodded Philly ahead in the 7th minute, but his open header from an Ayuk cross was mishit wide of the goal.
The game was then called for a weather delay in the 14th minute, which almost lasted 50 minutes before the teams restarted play.
Steve Birnbaum looked to have given United the lead in the 23rd minute, but was denied by keeper John McCarthy, the post, and the bounce of the ball. Birnbaum got on the end of a Facundo Coria free kick, and directed his effort on target. But McCarthy pushed the shot off the post, and then the ball bounced on the line before the Union cleared their lines.
Coria was involved moments later to help Aguilar work into a good shooting opportunity, but the rookie couldn't finish off the chance. The give and go between Aguilar and Coria ended with Aguilar picking up the ball in the box, but the midfielder's shot was well over the goal.
Sapong was then sent off while challenging Opare in the air. The incident seemed innocuous, with both players looking to play the ball, but Sapong saw red anyway.
The Black-and-Red took advantage immediately, with Arrieta handing United the lead. Coria played the ball out wide of the box to Aguilar, who one timed a cross into the box. The ball took a deflection in the box, and fell right to Arrieta, who was perfectly placed to fire a shot past McCarthy for the 1-0 lead.
Despite going down a man, the Union had a couple of chances to round out the first half, only to be denied by keeper Andrew Dykstra. Vincent Nogeuira had his curling effort pushed away by Dysktra, before Dykstra struggled with Ayuk's shot in the 42 minute. Dykstra tried to catch the shot, but dropped it, knocking it away before Andrew Wenger could prod the rebound home.
United were saved by the posts early in the second half, as a shot from Wenger didn't find the back of the net. Ayuk's cross from the right was one timed by Wenger, but the ball bounced off the left goal post, then the right goal post, with Dykstra rooted to the spot.
It was only four minutes later though in the 55th minute when Philadelphia found their equalizer. Maidana sent a well timed ball over the back line for Sheanon Williams, allowing the left back to latch on the ball in space. Williams picked his head up near the box, and saw Ayuk making an unmarked run towards the back post, and Ayuk made no mistake in turning the cross in.
After a lull, United was able to carve out a quick succession of chances, as they looked to find the goal that would send them to the next round of the Open Cup. Jared Jeffrey's long range effort was wide of the target, before Aguilar had his shot saved by McCarthy. Arrieta was able to wrangle in a Luke Mishu cross before shooting, but McCarthy pushed the shot wide.
In the 79th minute, Philly found the game winning goal, coming from the unlikely Fabinho. A 1-2 between Fabinho and Maidana saw the Brazilian defender get in behind United's defense. There was still plenty of work for Fabinho to do, but he powered a shot over Dykstra at the near post for the 2-1 lead.
Markus Halsti came inches away from leveling the score in the 83rd minute, as his volley from 20 yards out smashed the crossbar with McCarthy beat. United had one final chance in stoppage time through Arrieta, but the Costa Rican couldn't convert for his second goal, ending United's 2015 US Open Cup run.
United now head to Seattle to take on the Sounders on Friday night.