Instead of a usual practice of drills and fitness, the Philadelphia Union participated in a friendly against the U-17 USMNT Tuesday morning. Although the weather was a bit more overcast than the day before, the Union went to the Joe DiMaggio Sports Complex in Clearwater, Fla. ready to play and apply what they learned in training.
The game started at 10:30 a.m. and the first half saw the following line-up:
GK: John McCarthy
Defense: Taylor Washington (2016 SuperDraft), Richie Marquez, Ken Tribbett and Keegan Rosenberry (2016 SuperDraft)
Midfield: Eric Ayuk, Warren Creavalle, Tranquillo Barnetta ©, Vincent Nogueira and Chris Pontius
Forward: Fabian Herbers
The Union played a strong offensive match that left little for John McCarthy and the backline to do. After several chances, with many coming from Pontius, the Union finally found the back of the net with Creavalle’s strike.
The midfielder shot from just inside the 18-yard box, but his first attempt took a deflection. The 25-year-old made no mistake with the rebound and made the score 1-0.
The remainder of the first half saw a couple chances on goal, with McCarthy making his only save of the half. As the USMNT U-17 forward made a breakaway, the Union goalkeeper stayed big and intercepted the ball as he entered the 18.
With the halftime whistle, the score remained 1-0 and the Union took the opportunity to make a lineup change.
GK: Matt Jones
Defense: Fabinho, Joshua Yaro (2016 SuperDraft), Anderson, Raymon Gaddis
Midfield: Sebastien Le Toux, Bolu Akinyode, Ilsinho, Walter Restrepo, Leo Fernandes
Forward: C.J. Sapong
New goalkeeper signing Matt Jones came in the second half to get his first game minutes with the Union. The new signing made a couple of important saves, including an interception of a U-17 free kick that sailed into the six-yard box.
Le Toux made an immediate impact with a goal just a couple of seconds after the whistle marked the start of the second half to make the score 2-0.
Overall the Union looked more aggressive in the second half and saw many chances on goal. Trialist Ilsinho looked sharp both on the ball and passing. The Brazilian, who previously played for Shakhtar Donetsk, snagged an assist as he dribbled down the left hand side to the six-yard box and then passed the ball back to Sapong. Sapong fired the ball into the bottom right hand corner of the goal to make the score 3-0.
A handball late into the game resulted in a penalty for the Union. Le Toux stepped up to the plate and fired the ball towards the right-hand post where it bounced into the back of the net.
Although the score line was 4-0, the Union was not finished scoring goals. Fernandes scored the final goal of the game just a few seconds before the final whistle to make the game a 5-0 victory for the Union.
The team returns to training tomorrow morning ahead of Thursday’s match against Chicago Fire.