Michael Lahoud ready for U.S. Open Cup final


SEPTEMBER 16, 2014 By Sahr Morris Jnr.

Sierra Leone midfielder Michael Lahoud is set to play in the United States Cup final as his Philadelphia Union side locks horns with Washington-based Seattle Sounders FC at home on today (Tuesday). It’ll be the first major cup final for both Lahoud and Philadelphia Union.

Lahoud is expected to play against stars like former Nigerian international Obafemi Martins – who had also played for Inter Milan, Newcastle United, Birmingham City and Wolfsburg among others, and USA international Clint Dempsey, who featured for the USA in the just concluded World Cup in Brazil.

Dempsey also played in the English Premier League for both Fulham and Tottenham Hotspurs.

“Personally I have prepared myself mentally and physically for the match and I hope to play my role well to achieve our goal of winning the trophy,” Lahoud told Sports Writers Association of Sierra Leone (SWASAL).

The 28-year old added: “I’m looking forward to this great opportunity as it’s the first major cup final for me and my club. I know it’ll not be easy to play against experienced players like Obafemi Martins and Dempsey but we’ll try our best.

“What makes the final so special for us is that we are playing in front of our fans and I believe it’s an advantage for us. We are about to make history for ourselves and our fans.”

Lahoud, who has won four caps so far with Sierra Leone, will be the only Sierra Leonean on the pitch and he’s proud of it.

He said: “I’m proud to be the sole Sierra Leonean to be in the final and I’ll try my best to represent my country well. It’s a burden I look forward to carry. I know there are some Sierra Leoneans among our cheering fans and we hope to reward the fans and the city of Philadelphia with its first ever recognised football trophy.”

The former Carolina Dynamo and Chivas USA midfielder was initially part of Leone Stars coach, Jonathan McKinstry’s plan for their 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against DR Congo in Lubumbashi last Wednesday but he was dropped from the squad despite making it to Lubumbashi after the coach learnt the night before the game that he was suspended for the Group D encounter after picking up two yellow cards from two previous matches in the qualifiers.

“I’m disappointed with the timing of knowing about the suspension. But I’m a professional and in football you have to be able to adapt especially when things don’t go your way,” Lahoud concluded.