UPDATE | June 27
Philadelphia Union Academy U17s kept rolling to secure their spot in the Quarterfinals of the MLS NEXT Cup with a 5-1 win over Toronto FC. The Boys in Blue have now racked up 11 goals in their first two matches, the most of any team in the tournament thus far. The Union look to book their place in the Semifinals when they take on rivals New York Red Bulls. Kick off from Texas is set for 10 a.m. ET on Wednesday, June 29th.
UPDATE | June 26
Philadelphia Union Academy U17s announced their presence in a resounding way with a 6-1 win over Cedar Stars Academy of Monmouth. Marcos Zambrano led the way with a hat trick and an assist to propel the offense. The Boys in Blue will face off against Toronto FC for a spot in the Quarterfinals of the MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs on Monday, June 27th with kick off set for 6 p.m. ET.
When the Philadelphia Union Academy U17 squad takes to the grounds in Frisco, Texas on Sunday morning, they'll be cap off a remarkable MLS NEXT journey. The top team in the league's East Division with 36 points in 15 contests, the Boys in Blue will be looking for the MLS NEXT Cup that was nearly theres a year ago.
The core of the 2022 U17 roster is built upon last year's U15 roster that ultimately finished as runner-up in the inaugural MLS NEXT Cup. Defense is at the core of Union's philosophy that stretches from Subaru Park at the MLS level through Union II in MLS NEXT Pro and into the Academy. Head Coach Tobias Nubbemeyer has a stocked backline with Andy Rick in net with the group going perfect in MLS NEXT Flex last month. Three matches that secured their spot to Texas. Three wins. Three shutouts.
In 2022, only nine goals were scored in league play against the Union's U17s with a winning streak dating back to April 2nd. All this talk about the defense, it is easy to overlook the highly powered offense that is led by Nelson Pierre, Bajung Darboe, Gael Medrano, Marcos Zambrano and CJ Olney.
The journey begins on Sunday, June 26th at 10 a.m. ET when the U17s take on regional rivals Cedar Stars Academy of Monmouth. The opposition finished third in the Mid-Atlantic Division with their spot in the MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs coming via a remarkable run in MLS NEXT Flex where they defeated the Houston Dynamo and Wake FC before falling in a penalty shootout to the Barca Residency Academy. The two teams will meet in the Round of 32 looking for a winner after playing to a scoreless draw in October.