PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia Union will open play in the U.S. Open Cup tonight as they welcome the Harrisburg City Islanders of the United Soccer League to Chester for a fourth round match-up.
Starting goalie Andre Blake is on international duty, so the start in net tonight for the Union will go to La Salle University product John McCarthy.
“Any chance I get to step into the net is something I definitely look forward to, especially in the Open Cup,” he tells KYW Newsradio. “I know its a big competition and it’s one of our opportunities throughout the season to lift a trophy. So hopefully we can start off on the right foot.”
McCarthy has not appeared in a match for the Union this season with Blake getting all the work (he has made a couple appearances for the Union’s USL affiliate Bethlehem). He talks about staying sharp as a back-up.
“I think it’s all in the mindset,” he says. “It’s definitely not an easy thing. But sometimes you know when the starter is going away on international duty and stuff like that, but you always just have to be ready at any point and time, and that’s why I train every day like I’m ready to play on the weekend. Hopefully I can take advantage of the opportunity at hand.”
Harrisburg beat Reading United AC of the PDL (Premier Development League) to get this chance.
“We’ve played Harrisburg over the past couple of years a few times,” McCarthy says. “Played against them in the USL throughout my career as well.”
Last year the Union played Harrisburg in the fourth round of the Open Cup. The Union won 3-2 with McCarthy playing that game in net.
“They’re a tough, competitive team that has a lot of talent on the team that wants the opportunity to play in MLS,” he says. “I was in their shoes a few years ago, so I know how it feels. They’re going to push and they have some dangerous assets on the team that we’ve got to prepare for and take care of.”
Philadelphia advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2016 Open Cup before losing to New England.
The Union and Harrisburg get underway at 7:30pm tonight in Chester.