After scoring a brace to lead Union II past their Eastern Conference rivals Red Bulls II, Philadelphia Union homegrown Nelson Pierre has been the MLS NEXT Pro Player of the Match the league announced on Monday evening.
The Union forward had a breakthrough performance against the club's biggest rivals with a pair of smooth finishes in the opening half. In the 20th minute, Union II made their breakthrough, when forward Jose Riasco made a long run into the box, beating multiple defenders and sliding the ball to Pierre who buried his shot to give the Boys in Blue the 1-0 advantage.
Just before the break as the home side sought to apply pressure to equalize before the break, the Union got the opportunity to counter attack and succeeded in the 39th minute. Defender Juan Castillo played a long ball down the left side to spring Pierre free on goal. The 18-year-old battled through the contact from his marker and dashed into the box before slotting his shot past the keeper and into the bottom right corner to double the visitors’ lead at 2-0.
Pierre becomes first Union II player to receive the league's matchday accolades just days after teammate David Vazquez was recognized as the April's MLS NEXT Pro Rising Star of the Month.
Pierre and Union II are back in action this weekend as they face off against Inter Miami CF II for the second time in 2023. Kick off from Fort Lauderdale is set for 6 p.m. ET on Sunday, May 14th. Fans can catch the action for free on MLSNEXTPro.com.