“That’s what Union II is supposed to be about. It’s about giving these guys a platform to improve and showcase themselves and I thought that they really showcased themselves well tonight.”
That’s how Philadelphia Union II Interim Head Coach Marlon LeBlanc summarized the club’s 4-0 victory over Loudoun United FC on Wednesday night as all four goal scorers netted their first with the club. 16-year-old Brandan Craig opened the scoring in the sixth minute of play and was followed up by 17-year-old Anton Sorenson, 20-year-old Steve Kingue and 16-year-old Caden Stafford.
“All my young guys have grown so much and I don't have to say it because you guys can see it you can see how much better they're playing and how much they’ve grown and developed and then that's what this project is about,” LeBlanc said. “The more and more I keep playing younger players it's going to be the their first times scoring. The guys are working incredibly hard. They’ve bought into what we want to do. You’re starting to see a lot of the fruits of labor kind of paying off.”
While finishing was the highlight of the night, it wasn’t the main priority according to LeBlanc as he turned to “veterans” Jamoi Topey and Union goalkeeper Matt Freese to keep a clean sheet and they did just that. The duo were the oldest players for the club’s starting XI that saw an average age of just 18.3 on the pitch at Subaru Park.
“Shutout was the number one priority and the guys rose to the occasion,” LeBlanc told the media. “Guys like Matt and Jamoi played as well as he did today you can see why he could be a consideration to be a Jamaican international. To have the older guys like that would be at their best it really gives a younger guys a nice steady presence of security.”
With the club’s second victory of 2020 on their side and now seated fourth Group F standings, LeBlanc remarked that despite the result he’s still keeping the team level headed as they continue a blistering stretch of games to wrap up the USL Championship season.
“I just went in there and told them no different than after the Red Bulls game. We’re never as good as we think we are after we win and we’re never as bad as we think we are when we lose. We’re always going to be the youngest team and I think as long as we’re prepared to accept that and move on, then it doesn’t need to be an excuse for an obstacle anymore. Same with the defending and same with the results about the next game and getting better and we’ll take it day by day.”
Philadelphia Union II returns to Subaru Park with a showdown against second placed Hartford Athletic on Sunday, September 20. Kick off is set for 5 p.m. and will be shown on ESPN+.