The Morning Call (Sunday)

Messi coming to Pa. to play against Union

Donovan’s goal leads Philly into Leagues Cup semifinal against Inter Miami

- By Matthew De George

CHESTER — Lionel Messi will be coming to Chester. Chris Donovan made it so.

Donovan scored a goal in the 11th minute of stoppage time to salvage a 2-1 win for the Union over Queretaro in the quarterfin­als of the Leagues Cup on Friday night. The victory advances the Union to the semifinal to take on Inter Miami, which throttled Charlotte FC 4-0 with a goal from Messi.

That game will be Tuesday night in Chester.

A final would be next Saturday, and the Union would play in a third-place game one way or the other.

It took a late effort from the Union to get over the line.

They led from the 10th minute, when Jesus Bueno scored his first goal in a Union shirt. But Queretaro controlled much of the rest of the game, both in terms of possession and field position. It got its reward in the 65th minute, when Angel Sepulveda volleyed home a cross from Jaime Gomez.

That sent the Union into scramble mode. Without Daniel Gazdag (knee sprain), they looked lacking in ideas in attack.

They suffered a further blow in the 81st when, after making a pair of subs, Julian Carranza had to come off with an injury. That left them chasing the game with a makeshift attacking core. They got a boost when Marco Garcia, who entered in the 63rd minute, picked up his second yellow card in the seventh minute of 10 added.

This was far from the squad that lost to the Union 5-1 two weeks ago. Just seven of the players who were on the receiving end of that loss started for Mauro Gerk’s men.

Among those excluded was goalie Alejandro Arana, and Gerk switched Los Gallos Blancos’ formation from a 4-1-4-1 to a more convention­al 4-4-2, Sepulveda pushed up to pair with former Vancouver striker and MLS Golden Boot winner Camilo Sanvezzo.

Since that loss the Mexican club has bested Club Tijuana, upset Pumas and then won a penalty kick shootout to banish New England from the competitio­n. It was minutes from pushing the Union to a third straight penalty shootout.

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