Philadelphia Union II continued its strong start in the Torneo Las Americas Elite with a 2-1 win over Deportivo Cali on Tuesday morning.
Union II came out hungry from the opening kick off and notched the go-ahead goal just over a minute after the referee started play. Pressing high up the pitch, the club earned a free kick and made Colombian side pay. On the free kick, the ball was deflected into the path of midfielder Samuel Jones who quickly jumped on the ball and scored with a looping overhead strike.
Starting goalkeeper Damian Alguera was put under pressure following the goal as Deportivo Cali looked to equalize. The 17-year-old made back to back key saves but saw the opposition pounce on a rebound and tie the contest up just before the 15minute mark.
Tied up in the first half, Head Coach Marlon LeBlanc's side battled back and took the lead for good in the 36th minute with an impressive finish from midfielder Anthony Ramirez. Controlling the Union II attack in the 4-2-2-2 formation, Ramirez found space outside the box and blasted a rocket from distance that beat the keeper. Union II again turned to Alguera to preserve the lead with a stretching save before the half time whistle.
As the South American temperatures rose, so did the intensity over the final 45 minutes of the match. Both sides congested any offensive creation down the middle of the pitch and forced the outside backs to be playmakers. Union II remained compact and saw out the final half with a gritty performance to remain unbeaten in the group stage.
Union II look to remain undefeated in group play with a match up against Club Deportivo Aston Villa on Wednesday morning. Kick off is set for 11 a.m. ET in Colombia with match updates on Union II Twitter.
Philadelphia Union II Starting Lineup
Damian Alguera; Anton Sorenson, Jackson Gilman, Brandan Craig, Kleberson Pereira; Sam Jones, Diego Lopez; Ian Abbey, Anthony Ramirez; Gael Medrano, Marcos Zambrano.
Substitutes used: Samuel Fenton, Jack Jasinski, Paul Killen, Robert Myrick, Francis Westfield.