Opposite of Adults
2016's international friendly against Crystal Palace saw Derrick Jones make his Union debut. 2017 not only continued the trend, but expanded it. Auston Trusty, Aaron Jones and Anthony Fontana all made their first appearance in a Union kit in the match against Swansea. Trusty started the match for the Union at left centerback, and looked completely at home. In his 45 minutes of play, Trusty withstood the Swans' attack, making two big plays early on in the match. On one, Trusty poked away the ball on a one-on-one before the Swans could get off a shot, and another he made a big block to deflected a shot just wide. Trusty was subbed off during halftime, but made an impact in the first frame.
In the 76th minute, it was Aaron Jones' and Fontana's turn to make their debuts. Playing the final 15, both players jumped up into play to help aid the Union attack, trying to find the equalizer. And defensively, the two made big plays, from slide tackles to intercept passes to forcing turnovers and creating a counter attack. All and all, the kids were all right.
Sapong converts again
In the 6th minute of the match, CJ Sapong gave the Union an early lead thanks to some hard work from Marcus Epps. Epps caught a pass from Roland Alberg, creating a two-on-one, and Epps went into the box. He got knocked down in the box, drawing a penalty kick, which Sapong took. He buried the shot into the back of the net for his 11th goal of the season across all competitions, and he has converted every one of his penalty kick attempts.
Coming onto the pitch to start the second half, Simpson made sure to make his mark on the match. In the 57th minute, Simpson made a run behind the Swansea defenders, as Ilsinho split the Swan defenders with his pass. Simpson caught the pass and slipped his shot just past the diving Swansea keeper and into the back of the net. Simpson's goal was his second of the season in all competitions and drew the Union even with the Swans at 2-2.
Head Coach Jim Curtin mentioned in his weekly press conference that there would be a lot of guys getting playing time, and he was right. The Union made a total of 14 substitutions in the match, including starting a completely different 11 players in the second half. Four Union players made their Union debut against Swansea (Trusty, A. Jones, Fontana and Jake McGuire), while two others got their first minutes with the Union in 2017 (Brian Carroll and Charlie Davies. In total, 25 Union players received game minutes against an English Premier League team, and the teams walked away even.