Union II have one final regular season game remaining and its result will decide whether or not Head Coach Marlon LeBlanc’s squad will earn a spot in the MLS NEXT Pro playoffs. The team will take on New York Red Bulls II at MSU Soccer Park on Sunday afternoon – tune in to the must-win matchup on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.
After defeating Huntsville City FC 2-1 at Subaru Park for three points on Sunday, Union II moved into the Eastern Conference’s final playoff slot. They now have 39 points, hovering just one above New York City FC II and two above Huntsville City FC.
With a win against Red Bulls II, the Union will move on to the postseason. As for Red Bulls II, they’ve already clinched a postseason berth with their 14-7-6 record. They sit at 4th place in conference standings, tied with Columbus Crew II in points. This will be the pair's third meeting this season, with the Union claiming the first two victories by a one goal margin each time.
In their early May matchup, forward Nelson Pierre scored a brace and in their most recent head to head, forward Stefan Stojanovic and Philadelphia Union Academy graduate turned Rutgers University player Luciano Sanchez propelled the team to a win.
LeBlanc’s lineup has undergone vast refiguring since. They’ve welcomed multiple academy talents to the group, including Pierre’s 15-year-old younger brother, Neil, who’s scored two goals as a defender since his debut in July. Unfavorably for the Philly side, midfielder CJ Olney who’s established himself as a consistent starter and reliable playmaker will be out for the match. He was shown a red card against Huntsville City and will be suspended for the upcoming match.
The stage is set for a contentious matchup, as New York currently holds a five game unbeaten streak. The Union II will battle to snap it for a chance to continue their 2023 campaign.