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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Union meet a familiar Open Cup foe, plus a Palacios update

Could a move for Honduran midfielder Wilson Palacios, left,
be in the cards for the Union? (AP)
The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup got the fumbling-executive treatment by U.S. Soccer for its fifth round draw Thursday, which landed the Philadelphia Union another date with D.C. United.

The Union will host that match June 30 at PPL Park at 7:30. It’s the fourth time in six seasons that the teams are drawn together, with D.C. advancing in two of the previous three meetings (including in 2011 for what was technically a “play-in round.”) The Union beat D.C. United, 1-0, at PPL Park May 17 before dropping a controversial 2-1 decision at RFK Stadium May 30.

The winner of that game will travel to the winner of the New York Derby between the Cosmos, the last NASL squad left standing, and Red Bulls. The Round of 16 clash will occur July 21-22.

Whichever team prevails from the “East Region” in this year’s newly-instituted fixed bracket will host the semifinal against the survivor of the “South Region” from the quartet of Chicago, Orlando City, Columbus and the last remaining USL side, the Charlotte Independence. Semis will be held Aug. 11-12.

The draw for the host of the final will be performed prior to the semifinals, with the final date set at Sept. 29 or 30.

The Union advanced to the final of last year’s competition, losing the final at PPL Park to Seattle, 3-1 after extra time. The Union hosted four games in the tournament, only having to travel to FC Dallas for the semifinal.


One other bit of news: Manager Jim Curtin confirmed that Honduran midfielder Wilson Palacios’ trial has ended. He didn’t rule out a deal for the 30-year-old defensive midfielder, but indications are that the Union would have to clear space under MLS guidelines – likely in terms of international spots, money under the cap and/or roster spots – to make a deal for a player like Palacios work.

“We’ll evaluate things a little further,” Curtin said. “We’ll have talks with ownership and see what makes the most sense for the club and for his agent as well and make a decision that’s best for the team.”

Palacios was released by English Premier League club Stoke City after four injury-plagued seasons in May. He’s been in England since 2007, playing in the Premier League for Birmingham City, Wigan and Tottenham. He’s been capped 97 times for his country, representing them at the last two World Cups.

The MLS transfer window opens July 8, and Palacios would be ineligible to play before then.

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