Union II are heading on the road for a win-or-go-home postseason matchup against New England Revolution II. Tune in with MLS Season Pass on Apple TV to watch the action!
Head Coach Marlon LeBlanc’s squad will take on the New England side for their fourth matchup in 2023, but this time, there’s far more on the line as the winner will advance to the second round of the MLS NEXT Pro playoffs.
“New England is going to be a challenge. An older, mature team. Very well coached,” LeBlanc said of the matchup
“I just think that our guys will be certainly looking forward to the challenge and it’ll be a very, very difficult game, but it's the playoffs and you can kind of throw out what's happened from previous matches and just look forward to the next one.”
Union II has yet to defeat Revs II this season; Head Coach Clint Peay’s squad has overtaken Philadelphia by an eight goal margin through three matches. Homegrown winger Esmir Bajraktarević accounted for half of those goals, scoring four of his six total on the season against Union II. Favorably for Philadelphia, he hasn’t contributed to a Revolution II match since August, instead earning first team minutes with the club.
The top offensive threat for Union II to contain is 22-year-old forward Jordan Adebayo-Smith, who has compiled 12 goals and five assists through 2023. He contributed a goal in the Union II and Revs II May matchup at Gillette Stadium which finished in a 5-1 win for the home side. 21-year-old forward Marcos Dias is an opposing player to watch as well; he scored a brace in the pair’s most recent meeting in late August.
Union II enters the matchup with momentum after dominating New York Red Bulls II 3-1 on the road to close their regular season. With a free kick goal from forward Jeremy Rafanello, and center back banger from Hugo LeGuennec, and game-securing dagger from midfielder David Vazquez, players from across the roster contributed to the win.
“I think we have a good momentum going on. It’s a playoff game, so anything can happen. We know the Revs beat us three times this year, and we have to take a win against them atleast once this year. I think it’s an important match for us and for this organization,” Le Guennec said after the team’s Wednesday training.
The team played their last game without midfielder CJ Olney, who’s been a consistent playmaker throughout the season. He’ll return to the squad for this Sunday’s match after being sidelined due to a red card violation in the team’s match against Huntsville City.
“Anything can happen in the postseason, all the pressures on the line. We're going there and we're hungry. We want to beat them. We don't want to get swept by them in the entire season. We're all feeling really confident about this game,” Olney said.
Mark your calendars for Sunday, October 1st at 8 p.m. – you don’t want to miss this matchup!