Union II

Donovan's brace leads Union II to 3-1 win over New England


Chris Donovan scored twice in the second half to power Philadelphia Union II to a 3-1 victory over Eastern Conference rivals New England Revolution II on Sunday afternoon.

The MLS forward bagged his second multi-goal goal of 2024 in league play with the first coming less than two minutes after play resumed on a counter attack. After the home side found an equalizer on its first shot on target, the youthful Union II fought back with CJ Olney connecting with Donovan to reclaim the 2-1 lead. The Boys in Blue put the match away in the 81st minute with a set piece connection between Captain Kyle Tucker and Olwethu Makhanya for his first MLS NEXT Pro goal.

With the three points, Union II are now two-for-two in matches against the side that eliminated them from the postseason last year and more importantly are even on points for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

Union II dominated the opening half of play with a fearless mentality despite a youthful bunch of players on the road. The Boys in Blue didn’t allow a single shot from the Revolution over the first 45 minutes while they created numerous scoring opportunities of their own but were unlucky to not convert in the final third.

Philly brough high intensity pressure early on the in contest as Eddy Davis III forced a mistake along the Revolution backline inside the opening minute. The forward intercepted a poor dribble and quickly got the ball to CJ Olney whose cross into the six for Chris Donovan was cleared out for the game’s opening corner.

Head Coach Marlon LeBlanc was forced into an early change in the eighth minute as homegrown midfielder Nick Pariano’s return to the lineup was brief. Giovanny Sequera brought his vibrant personality to the match on his first touch, flicking a 50-50 ball forward to create a half chance before the play was whistled complete for a foul by the Venezuelan. Philly continued to pile on the pressure with back-to-back set piece chances but were unable to break through in the first 15 minutes.

After Sequera drew the first booking of the afternoon, Union II’s pair of captains combined on a scoring chance in the 24th minute. Team Captain Kyle Tucker provided the free kick service with a right-footed cross into the penalty area that connected with Vice Captain Frankie Westfield but header for the far post went wide. A few moments later Union II were back in the scoring area as Olney raced into the 18 and sent a shot bouncing on the turf that missed wide by inches.

Union II saw its best scoring chance come in the 33rd minute after a big defensive stand saw the Boys in Blue launch a counter. Davis quickly shot the cleared to his forward partner Chris Donovan at the center stripe where the 23-year-old turned on the jets. With his man marking stride for stride, Donovan composed himself to create a bit of separation to his right to set up a shot that crashed off the post and out.

The visiting side needed little time in the second half to break open the scoring as Donovan beat the keeper on a breakaway. Going direct in Union fashion, Sequera booted the ball upfield toward Davis who drew a pair of defenders. Surround by New England, the Academy forward flicked the ball into the path of Donovan who ran in on goal and slotted inside the post for the 1-0 lead in the 47th minute.

Philly kept pushing to double its lead and just past the hour mark nearly did. Much like the build up that led to the opening goal, it came on the counter with Donovan flicking a pass into the path of CJ Olney for the potential 1v1 opportunity. As the midfielder approached the 18-yard-box he ripped a shot for the right pots but saw it saved by a diving effort.

Two minutes later, New England found an equalizer on its first offensive chance of the entire contest. After 63 minutes of keeping the Revs stymied, Alex Monis ripped a shot that was blocked by the Union II defense but fell right into the path of the team’s leading goalscorer Marcos Dias. The Revs II front man quickly ripped a shot into the side netting to level the match at 1-1.

Head Coach Marlon LeBlanc turned to a pair of fresh legs shortly after conceding with Carlos Rojas and Leandro Soria on for Sanders Ngabo and Davis. The duo aided Union II’s push for a regulation victory with Olney finding space on the left side before whipping a cross into the box that connected with Donovan. The Union forward connected strongly with a header but saw his effort for another brace go over the crossbar. Donovan and Olney quickly got a chance to reconcile the miss and in the 76th minute the forward didn’t to make it 2-1 for Philadelphia.

Unlike the first time they took the lead, they wouldn’t allow the homeside the opportunity to attempt another shot at an equalizer with another attacking barrage earning sixth corner of the match. The Boys in Blue converted again in the air with Tucker connecting with Olwethu Makhanya for the defender’s first MLS NEXT Pro Goal off the set piece in the 81st minute of play.

Union II continues its stretch of rivalry road contests next weekend as they take on New York Red Bulls II. Kick off from the MSU Soccer Park at Montclair State is set for 5PM ET with the match free for all on MLSNEXTPro.com.

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Every match matters! In 2024, you do not want to miss your favorite matchups as the Union take on the best MLS has to offer! When we score, make sure you are there to get Subaru Park shaking!

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