FRISCO, Texas – The Philadelphia Union are heading to their first final in club history, thanks in large part to Zac MacMath's two saves in a penalty shootout to give the Union a 4-3 win from the spot after they battled FC Dallas to a 1-1 draw over 120 minutes in the semifinals of the 2014 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.
MacMath saved both Blas Perez and Victor Ulloa’s attempts to add to a five-save performance on the evening, whereas the Union scored all four of their attempts.
The 23-year-old's heroics came after the Union gave up an 81st minute equalizer to Fabian Castillo off a feed from Blas Perez, having led for nearly all of the second half.
Both teams fielded close to first-choice lineups for the game, with Argentine playmaker Mauro Diaz getting the call for Dallas after making his first start back from injury over the weekend.
Injuries would throw a wrench into Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja's plans, though – Walker Zimmerman was substituted off with a knock in the 37th minute, and Diaz and Adam Moffat followed at halftime, leaving Pareja with no substitutes for the remainder of the game.
Though injuries were the big talking point of the first period, the game opened up early in the second half with the Union getting two quality chances. The first, in the 47th minute, was converted into the game’s first goal when Vincent Nogueira took a free kick quickly to Sebastien Le Toux, who then fed Amobi Okugo into the Dallas area for a simple finish.
Minutes later, Le Toux nearly added to his Open Cup-record 14 goals when he rang Fernandez's post.
After what seemed a long run of time where neither team could get traction to put pressure on either goalkeeper, Castillo and Perez worked to create some late magic with a midfield breakaway that put the Colombian alone in on goal in the 81st minute. MacMath came well out of his area to try to break up the play but missed the ball, leaving Castillo alone to put it home.
The tying goal opened up the game considerably as both teams fought to win the game first in regulation, and then in extratime, but neither side could find a winner.
Dallas came into the match having won at home over the San Antonio Scorpions, and then on the road against the Houston Dynamo and the Carolina Railhawks of the NASL. Philadelphia had beaten the Harrisburg City Islanders of the USL PRO and New York Cosmos of the NASL, before beating the New England Revolution in the quarterfinals to set up Tuesday night's game.
The Union now will host the final against the winner of the Seattle Sounders vs. Chicago Fire semifinal scheduled for Wednesday night.