CHESTER, Pa. - In seven years of U.S. Open Cup tournament participation, the Union have never lost to the Harrisburg City Islanders, going 3-0-0 over that span.
That streak continued against the USL side on Wednesday.
With first-half goals from C.J. Sapong and Derrick Jones, and a two-assist effort from Jay Simpson, the Union easily dispatched Pedro Ribeiro and the City Islanders, 3-1, in the fourth round of the Open Cup at Talen Energy Stadium.
With the victory, the Union, who received a bye up to this point in the tournament, advance to the round of 16, which happens on June 28. The time, opponent and location will be determined on Thursday.
Controlling play early, the Union opened scoring in the 18th minute on an effortless play. While holding the ball up at the top of the box, Simpson slid possession over to Jones, who placed a delicate, right-footed shot through traffic and between Sean Lewis and the right post for the 1-0 advantage.
Simpson, who started next to Sapong, Marcus Epps and Roland Alberg upfront, found his second assist just 15 minutes later when he dished to Sapong on the right side of the box. The Union leading scorer buried the left-footed finish for a 2-0 lead.
Despite the deficit, the City Islanders weren't ready to pack it in. The USL side cut the Union lead in half in the 37th minute, when Paul Wilson beat Jack Elliott at the right side of the Union box. The play caused Josh Yaro to cover for Elliott and Keegan Rosenberry to move inside for Yaro. Wilson then sliced a cross-box pass that evaded the Union defenders and landed to Jonathan Mendoza, who found the goal.
But moments into the second half, Union rookie Epps would end the visitor's hope. Breaking down the right side, thanks to a long-range outlet pass from Haris Medunjanin, Epps beat his man and climbed in alone on Lewis before slipping a nifty touch between the goaltender and closing defender for his first professional goal and 3-1 Union lead.