CHESTER, Pa. - For the third time in five seasons, the Union are headed to the U.S. Open Cup final.
With the go-ahead goal and insurance from forward Cory Burke, the Union outlasted the Chicago Fire to take the semifinals matchup, 3-0, on a balmy Wednesday night at Talen Energy Stadium.
The Union, who are 0-2 in final appearances - both at home - will hit the road for their third to face the winner of LAFC-Houston Dynamo at either Banc of California Stadium or BBVA Compass Stadium.
• In the 60th minute, Burke found the net off a beautiful give-and-go from Alejandro Bedoya and Borek Dockal. The captain chipped the final pass over the Fire's defensive back and to Burke, who gathered and placed a shot past Richard Sanchez for the crucial 1-0 Union lead.
• Matching up with the Fire, who defeated Louisville City FC to advance, was a beneficial draw. The Union entered the match 2-0-0 against the Fire, with a 3-1 win at home on May 30, and a dramatic, last-second, 4-3 win at Toyota Park on July 11. They added another on Wednesday.
• In the 78th minute, after a heat-induced water break, Burke nabbed his second. He took a pass at the top of the box, split two Fire defenders with ease and played a right-footed shot past Sanchez for the 2-0 lead. It was also assisted by Bedoya.
• Union attacker Fafa Picault put a nail in the contest in the 86th minute by dishing to Sapong for the tap-in. Now down 3-0, the Fire were visibly gassed and defeated.
• Center defender Jack Elliott made the start for Mark McKenzie, who was sidelined with a knee contusion. Elliott was his typically sound self to preserve the shutout. You can tell the Union feel safe with him in the back.
• Andre Blake was also solid when he needed to be, earning the one save shutout.
• In the 17th minute, Haris Medunjanin nearly collected the goal of the season. Outside the box, the veteran ripped a golazo-style free kick that curled inside and beat Sanchez, but plunked off the crossbar.
• Outside of Medunjanin's attempt, it wasn't the most thrilling first half with both clubs appearing sluggish at times. The Union finished the stanza with nine shots, one on target. The second half was completely different, as all seven of the Union's second-half shots went on frame.