UnionII-Preview-June19

Following a heartbreaking loss to Toronto on a 95th minute goal, Philadelphia Union II is aiming to get back in the wins column at home against Chicago Fire FC II on Sunday. 

Union II will once again be without the services of four Union players that have often joined them this season. Jack McGlynn, Paxten Aaronson, Quinn Sullivan, and Brandan Craig are all competing for the US U-20 National Team, leaving spots for young Union II talent to step up. Against Toronto, Chris Donovan and Jose Riasco broke free for good chances but couldn’t find the back of the net. The coordination up front seemed to improve when Juan Perdomo stepped into a creative role under the front two, and Perdomo may need to be locked in to break down Chicago on Sunday. 

Key to Union II’s success against Chicago will be controlling the chaos. Philly doesn’t need the ball to control games, but at times the chaos they create can spin a match out of their control. When these teams met in Chicago, the result was a 3-3 draw that saw Chicago score twice early, give up three to Union II, then grab a late tying goal and win on penalties. Both sides received a red card and all but one player finished from the spot. 

Union II head coach Marlon LeBlanc should have Nathn Nkanji available this weekend following a short layoff. The central defender was replaced by winger Jack Jasinski in Toronto, and while Jasinski held his own, Nkanji has proven to be a top center back in MLS Next Pro so his return will be very welcome. 

LeBlanc will also have late decisions if Cole Turner or Jesus Bueno play heavy minutes for the Union on Saturday. Turner slid into defense last match for LeBlanc, and if he isn’t available it will be difficult to replace his calmness and leadership in back. 

With both the Union and Union II at home, Matt Freese is likely to start in goal for Union II. The homegrown Union goalie has been sensational in MLS Next Pro play this season and thwarted Toronto repeatedly last weekend. His ability to keep the team in games gives the high-ceiling attack a chance to shine. 

Union II faces off with Chicago Fire FC II at 2:00 p.m. ET at Subaru Park on Sunday, June 19. Season ticket members get free access to up to three Union II matches in 2022, and all matches are streamed live on MLSNextPro.com.