Rocio's brace sends U-17s to another Generation adidas Cup Final


For the second straight year Philadelphia Union will play for the U-17 Generation adidas Cup as they knocked off CF Flamengo, 2-0, on Saturday afternoon.

Quarterfinal hero Diego Rocio was once again the star, with the forward delivering another two-goal performance to secure a chance at back-to-back championships for the first time in GA Cup history. After scoring twice in the second half yesterday, Rocio’s first goal of the semifinal was a memorable one with a world class golazo off a free kick from 22-yards out. Early in the second half, Rocio got his brace with a finish inside the box set up by Jamir Johnson.

Head Coach Peter McDonnell was forced into a pair of lineup changes for the big match with starters Cavan Sullivan and Zachary Mastodimos unavailable for the contest against the Brazilian side. Peter Doran and Henry Bernstein earned the starts in their place which saw the Union transform more into a flat 4-4-2 formation. Despite the new look, the Union played with the same style and intensity with direct play and eager to challenge every 50-50 ball that came in their path.

Flamengo earned the first scoring chance of the contest just past the tenth minute as a cross was cleared only to the top of the 18 where Italo Pereira Dos Santos took a blast off the volley that went wide of Gavin Atkinson in net.

After the Union were denied on a free kick chance, Flamengo went on a counter attacking run on the right side four minutes after their first scoring attempt. Philadelphia Union II center back Neil Pierre made a crucial tackle inside the box to deny a shot as he stuck out a boot to clear away the cutback centering pass.

With the defense pitching the shutout, the Union again turned to set piece chances to get on the board a chance from Bernstein earning a second free kick chance after captain Anisse Saidi was taken down at the top of the box. Kellan LeBlanc and Diego Rocio both sized up the chance from 22 yards out with Flamengo lining up a five-man wall. Rocio threaded the needle perfectly with a world-class finish with his right foot to put the Union ahead in the 20th minute.

Philly nearly doubled its advantage in the 27th minute as Rocio had a centering pass for Jamir Johnson to attempt an effort from long range but the Brazilian keeper made the save.

Like the first half, Flamengo had the first scoring chance but were quickly shut down by the Union as Pierre and DeHart closed down quickly a half chance. Philly took control of the match in the 38th minute on the counter as Johnson received a pass from the midfield and raced into space on the left side. Sensing a run into the box from Rocio, Johnson hit a hard cross the skipped through a pair of defenders and to the boots of his teammate for a one-time finish.

Five minutes after the Union doubled their advantage on the scoreboard, they gained a man-advantage as Flamengo had a player shown a second yellow card. Philly continued to battle until the final whistle, making sure to prevent any scoring chances that could see the Brazilian side slice the deficit in half.

Philadelphia Union Academy looks for Generation adidas Cup history as they seek to become the first repeat MLS champion at the U-17 level on Sunday afternoon against the LA Galaxy. Kick off from Florida is set for 5:30PM ET and will be streamed on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.

U15s pick up shutout win against Club Necaxa

Philadelphia Union Academy U-15 side was back in action on Saturday, turning in it's best performance at the 2024 Generation adidas Cup to defeat Club Necaxa from Mexico, 3-0.

Head Coach Henry's Apaloo's side came out of the gates hungry to bounce back from their 1-0 loss the previous day with leading scorer Malik Jakupovic netting the opening goal midway through the opening half. Tyler Gladstone doubled the Union's lead going into the break with an important second goal inside the box to lift the Union's spirits at half time.

After absorbing a lengthy bit of possession from Necaxa, the Union hit on the counter to finish off the match with guest player Dylan Luebbert getting his first goal of the GA Cup in the 50th minute to wrap up the scoring.

The U-15s wrap up their participation in the tournament on Sunday at 9:30AM ET when they take on the San Jose Earthquakes.