Philadelphia Union Academy picked up a pair of rivalry wins on Saturday afternoon at the WSFS Bank Sportsplex in Chester, PA., with the U17s and U14s nabbing important league points against their I-95 rivals.
The U17s started off the morning action with a dominant 4-0 shutout win against the D.C. United to extend their unbeaten streak to double digits. Diego Roccio set the tone early with an 11th minute finish to put the Boys in Blue ahead. The two sides battled up and down the pitch with tight spaces in the midfield until things broke open late in the match behind Roccio's 70th minute goal. As the opposition committed numbers to the attack the Union's counterattacking principles were on display as Luca Mazzola scored from the top of the box in the 87th minute and three minutes later Roccio completed his hat trick. Even more impressive for the Union was the defense as they held their opposition without a goal for the eighth time in the fall season.
While the U17s were getting a win, Head Coach Phil Karn's U14s side were doing just the same via a feisty 3-2 victory against D.C. United. The 14s showcased their ability to battle back overcoming a pair of one-goal deficits to eventually pull out the win. Despite dominating chances and possession, the opposition were able to capitalize on their only scoring opportunities but the squad didn't hang their head and battled back. Jayden Kouadio got the first equalizer which was then followed suit by Hayes Cooney to make it a 2-2 match. October's Player of the Month Timoni Gbalajobi answered the call late with the game-winner to give the U14s their 11th-consecutive win in MLS NEXT competition.
The U15s faced off against a larger and more physical opponent and nearly battled back for a draw but ultimately came up just short by a 2-1 scoreline. Despite the result the U15s showed showed growth and team improvement in set piece situations against the physical side from the nation's capital and were strong in their pressing cues especially in the first half which resulted in a goal from Malik Jakupovic. The physicality took its toll however in the final half as the road side held on until the final whistle.