Another big weekend for Philadelphia Union’s Academy wrapped up this past Sunday, going 8-2-2 over their second weekend of back-to-back matches.
The Union Academy will play their final home matches of the calendar year Saturday against Cedar Stars at Power Training Complex in Chester, an opportunity to utilize the first team facilities and experience the integration the “Pathway to the Pros” offers.
The Union U12s split their matches this weekend against PDA, winning the first 1-0 and losing the second 2-1. The U12s, driven by a creative and technically sound midfield, created numerous chances in both matches. PDA offered a very competitive match with an athletic squad that countered well, but the Union were organized and controlled the tempo in both matches. A late goal on a corner kick led to the dropped points in the second match.
The U12s have benefitted this year from the establishment of the Philadelphia Union Juniors Pre-Academy, having featured two members of the juniors, Stefan Chirila and Michael Tzimoulis, who provided key performances in the Union’s recent match against New York Red Bulls. With U12 coaches Kleberson and Fred also coaching in the Pre-Academy, the integration of these younger players is sure to bear fruit for years to come.
The Union U13s split their matches this weekend, defeating PDA on the road 1-0, and losing to Baltimore Armour 2-1. The loss was the first of the year for the U13s.
The U13s created numerous chances against PDA, and Marcelo Mazzola finished off his eighth goal in as many matches in the first half. The Union continued to create great chances throughout the match, playing through the lines, but were unable to double their lead. Resolute defending insured, though, that the lead was never in threat.
The Sunday match versus Baltimore Armour offered a challenge against a very physical squad on short rest. The Union maintained position and a high level of play, but Armour capitalized on a few Union mistakes in the counter and the U13s had their chances in the attack go uncapitalized, dropping the match 2-1 in the end.
The U14s started the weekend with a big 2-1 win on the road versus PDA in a highly competitive game. The match was highlighted by a consistent group performance, with the players settling into their individual roles nearly halfway into the season. Three players from the U14s spent the weekend playing up (Nelson Pierre, Brandan Craig, and Quinn Sullivan), but the team capitalized on two of their many chances.
A second match versus Baltimore Armour ended 0-0, with many opportunities going wanting for the Union. The squad controlled play throughout the match, and felt that the draw seemed more like a loss. The Union, as they have in every match, got Baltimore Armour’s best shot, as regional rivals all have starred the Union on their calendar as one of their biggest matches of the season.
The Union U15s faced two different challenges against PDA on the road and Baltimore Armour at home, but for the second weekend in a row came away with two wins.
Against PDA, the Union faced a foe similarly possession oriented and interested in dynamic play. This lead to a competitive match the Union won 2-1, with Selmir Miscic scoring a brace. Miscic currently leads the country with 17 goals in 11 matches.
The second match against Baltimore Armour was played at Power Training Complex, allowing the U15s to utilize the Bethlehem Steel FC locker room and their part of the Philadelphia Union organization. The Union won 3-0, controlling the ball and the tempo of the match. Jarman Reilly stood out in his new role as fullback, and Jack Roberto scored a goal playing as a No. 10, a position he’s recently been introduced to. Patrick Bohui continued his hot streak with a brace to round out the scoring.
Featuring a defense that has still conceded less than 10 goals this year, the U17s rattled off back-to-back wins this weekend versus PDA and Baltimore Armour.
The squad was defensively sound across all 11 positions all weekend, and found an offensive spark from Axel Picazo against PDA. The Union played through the lines, with Picazo scoring first, and Aboubacar Camara tallying an insurance goal late in the match to grab the win on the road.
On Sunday, Philadelphia Union defeated Baltimore Armour 3-1 with Picazo again leading off the scoring and featuring his 1v1 abilities, and Nick Blacklock and Adam Langes notching their first goals of the season. The Union may have left goals on the board after their dominant play, but nonetheless came away with two big wins, as the Winter Showcase looms large in a few weeks before the team enters winter break.
The Union U19s kicked off the weekend with a massive 8-2 win over rivals PDA on the road. While the Union displayed some sound defending, it was the midfield engine of Seth Kuhn, Brenden Aaronson, and Michael Pellegrino who controlled the match and created chance after chance. Jeremy Rafanello, Issa Rayyan, and Tonny Temple all earned braces, and Temple especially displayed great progress both on and off the ball.
Sunday’s match versus Baltimore Armour ended in a 0-0 draw, but the team mentality left the coaching staff impressed nonetheless. Baltimore came out strong to start the match, but the Union gained control in the second half with quality in possession and numerous chances created. Brady McSwain, in only his second start in goal, exhibited a lot of confidence as he led the team to a clean sheet.