Philadelphia Union’s academy took on a huge weekend of action as the U15s and U17s traveled to Florida to take on two MLS opponents while the U13s and U14s took on Met Oval.
The matchups against Met Oval proved a good test for the teams’ progress early in the spring calendar. Willy Topp’s U13s created 11 scoring chances in the first half and finished three to run out to a big lead. Jayden Kouadio continued his strong form with a hat trick while Colin Fulham, Liam Holtzman, and Miles Smith rounded out the scoring for a 6-0 victory.
The U14s were aggressive defensively high up the pitch, creating turnovers in the attacking third that led to good opportunities. Javi Linears, Charlie Rihn, and Declan Lannon all found the scoresheet in a 3-0 win. Phil Karn’s charges were focused on organized pressing, with the full squad on the front foot against the ball. The focus next week will be on finishing the chances they created as they left numerous high-value chances wanting. Still, creating these moments is crucial to controlling a match and the team will build on a strong, cohesive performance going forward.
The U15s took on Miami on Saturday and Orlando City on Sunday. They opened the weekend with a 3-0 win that saw the first goal come late in the opening half after a sustained period of field position dominance. They quickly followed that up with two more in the second half to put away the home side. Controlling the center of the pitch was key for the 15s and they looked to be direct after winning the ball back to push Miami’s defensive shape deep. This will continue to be a trend as the squad aims to find 1v1s on the break that their strong attacking unit can capitalize on.
On Sunday, a fatigued Union side drew 2-2 with Orlando City SC. The two clubs traded goals in the first half before Orlando City put together a patient move up the left and dumped in the go-ahead goal off a scramble in the box. Late in the match, Philly’s insistent pressure paid off as they earned a penalty and converted to earn the point.
The 17s faced the same opponents as the 15s, and opened their weekend with a 2-0 win over Orlando City SC. After a messy first half, the two sides began to grow into their styles of play with Miami looking to possess and spread the Union wide while Philly sought to get in behind quickly after turnovers. Two second half goals proved to be the difference as the Union came out victorious.
The 17s fell 2-1 to Orlando City on Sunday. On heavy legs, the U17s fell behind early, then gave up the go-ahead goal soon after tying things up. They proved dangerous from set pieces, but failed to deliver the clinical finishing needed to defeat an organized opponent that protected the box well.
Next weekend, FC DELCO and Alexandria are on the docket for the 15s and 17s, while the 14s and 13s face DELCO on Saturday. The 14s will also take on PA Dominion in a friendly on Sunday while the 13s get a rest.