UnionII-Preview-April24

Philadelphia Union II have had to wait two weeks to avenge their first loss of the season, but the opportunity finally arrives Sunday in Chicago. 

Following three straight shutout losses, Chicago Fire II notched their first-ever MLS NEXT Pro goals of the year in a 4-2 loss to TFC II last weekend. 

Fire II went ahead twice in the contest before giving up three goals in the final 30 minutes, pointing to the first signs of life for an attack that has struggled mightily this year. 

Union II head coach Marlon LeBlanc watched his side push hard in a loss to Columbus Crew II with a slew of Union players in the starting lineup. With the Union at home on April 23, LeBlanc will likely give more opportunities to Union II players looking to show they can thrive in Philly’s uptempo system. 

Nelson Pierre and Bajung Darboe, two high-upside attackers who raised eyebrows with powerful displays at the recent GA Cup in Dallas, are likely to find minutes as they try to bring that same form to MLS NEXT Pro play. 

Importantly, LeBlanc will be uncompromising in the team’s approach. While the Union have been able to roll out a largely unchanged eleven many times this season, Union II rotates players but asks for a similarly high level of conditioning and tactical comprehension. This can lead to difficult defensive moments like the club experienced against Crew II, but it can also teach communication skills as players seek to move as a unit defensively. 

Catch Philadelphia Union II’s second road match of the year streaming live on MLSNEXTPro.com at 7:00 p.m. ET on April 24.