Union II

Postseason on the line as Union II wrap up home schedule Sunday

Krueger and Rafanello

Union II will host their final regular season home match of 2023 at Subaru Park on Sunday, September 17 against Huntsville City FC. The upcoming game is their most crucial yet, as a win would result in a six point swing up the Eastern Conference standings, placing them in playoff contention with one contest remaining.

The team enters the high-stakes matchup with confidence after defeating Toronto FC II 5-3 last Friday night, eliminating the Canadian side from postseason play. The highlight of the match was an electrifying second half stretch in which Philadelphia scored three goals in 10 minutes.

The attack started with a Frankie Westfield header via a Jeremy Rafanello cross. Their effort was amplified 5 minutes later with a Stefan Stojanovic volley to the back of the net. Rafanello scored a goal of his own in the 58th minute, making the score 4-1. Though Toronto II found success of their own finishing the night with three goals, Chris Donovan’s speed led to the first goal of the night and the last, earning him a brace.

The team’s offensive prowess shined with first-teamers on the field, supplementing the budding young talent on the roster.

Sunday’s looming matchup against Huntsville City FC is expected to be a competitive one; last time to the two teams met, just a month ago on August 19th, Huntsville won 5-2. Philadelphia played down a man for the majority of the game after defender Hugo Le Guennec earned a 25th minute red card. Due to MLS NEXT pro rules, he is ineligible to play on Sunday. Philadelphia Union Academy players CJ Olney and Neil Pierre both earned goals that game. As for Huntsville, forward Azaad Liadi stunned Union II’s defense with a hat trick, adding to goals from midfielder Kemy Amiche and midfielder Joey Skinner.

Since that match, Huntsville City hasn’t claimed a win, instead drawing against Inter Miami II then losing to both New England Revolution II and Atlanta United II. Favorably for Union II, the Alabama side has only won three games on the road this season. Huntsville currently has 37 points and Philadelphia has 36, so a win could cause a major shake up in the standings as the postseason rapidly nears.