CHESTER, Pa. (October 2, 2019) – A strong second campaign in USL Championship and a propelled Union attacker Michee Ngalina up four spots to No. 13 on 2019 20 Under 20 list. Ngalina was listed as the 17th best player under 20 years of age on 2018’s list.
The Congolese forward’s impressive work with Bethlehem Steel FC helped catch the eye of parent club Philadelphia Union, which signed Ngalina to a contract in May. With six goals and two assists through 20 appearances (20 starts) for the Steel this season, along with a nomination for USL Championship Goal of the Week for his March 30th rocket against Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, Ngalina has continued to blossom in his second year of USL Championship action.
“Michee is having a great season through his matches with the Steel,” said Union Sporting Director Ernst Tanner. “He brings pace and energy every time he steps onto the pitch. Michee’s quality is evident every day in Union training and we are excited for when he begins to break into the first team squad consistently.”
Despite heavy competition at his position, Ngalina earned his MLS debut as a substitute in the Union’s home match against the Portland Timbers on May 25. As he continues to work toward more MLS minutes, Ngalina is determined to grow his game and make use of every moment he has with Steel.
“Forward is one of our most competitive positions for the Union right now and we are excited about Michee’s future with us,” Tanner explained. “He has shown that he can fit our system of pressing and can use his speed in both defense and the attack to make an impact in matches. His next step is to improve tactically and show that he can make that impact consistently and better than our current first choices.”
Through two seasons, Ngalina has tallied 13 goals and notched four helpers through a total of 44 appearances (38 starts) for Bethlehem. He even holds the record for the fastest brace in Steel FC history, which he set by scoring two goals in two minutes against Loudoun United FC on May 3, 2019. That’s all impressive, but two of Ngalina’s attributes stand out more than others for the Union organization: Pace and attitude.
“Michee’s speed is impressive,” Tanner stated. “He could be a real weapon in terms of counterattacking and threatening opponent’s goals. More than that, Michee is a positive personality and is always giving his best in every game and every training session.”
Both Philadelphia Union and Bethlehem Steel FC are in action this weekend for a doubleheader at Talen Energy Stadium. The Union host New York City FC on Decision Day presented by AT&T at 4:00 p.m. ET, while the Steel host Charlotte Independence in their final regular-season home match of 2019 at 7:30 p.m. ET.