Despite playing its third match in eight days, Philadelphia Union II battled hard against its biggest rival but fell, 6-0, to New York Red Bulls II on the campus of Montclair State University on Wednesday evening.
Philadelphia Union homegrown goalkeeper Matt Freese marked his return to the lineup in a big way, not showing any rust from no game action since Union II’s 2020 opener back on March 7th. The homegrown was tested early and often with a pair of clutch stops in the first half. Freese’s first save came in the eighth minute, reading Red Bull II’s Chris Lema to make a diving penalty kick stop. Freese was called upon again in the 24th minute as the homeside switched its attack, racing from post to post and making the point-black save.
Needing a result to keep their USL Cup Playoff chances alive the Red Bulls kept on firing chances and broke through with a pair of goals from Omar Sowe in the final minutes of the opening half to take a 2-0 lead into the locker room.
Interim Head Coach Marlon LeBlanc made a pair of changes during the halftime break to push for goals, bringing on Academy players Axel Picazo and Danny Flores. The change nearly paid dividends as Paxten Aaronson floated a ball over the Red Bulls defense that Picazo raced under. With a defender on his hip, Picazo nearly sliced the deficit in half but saw his effort go high.
Union II kept fighting for a goal to get back into the match off a set piece opportunity in the 64th minute with the club’s young captain Brandan Craig having a try from the edge of the 18-yard-box but seeing it deflected on its way toward frame.
With the visitors pushing for goals, Red Bulls II took advantage with counterattacks to net four second-half goals in a 18-minute span. Forward Omar Sowe completed the hat trick during that span while Caden Clark followed up an assist and two goals.
Philadelphia Union II wraps up its four-game road trip on Saturday with a battle against Loudoun United FC. Kick off from Segra Field is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on ESPN+.