Union II

Rafanello's Hat Trick Leads Union II to Comeback Victory Over Columbus Crew 2

Philadelphia Union II met Columbus Crew 2 on Sunday evening at Subaru Park, winning 3-2 and earning their first home victory of the season.

Early in the first half, Union II came out strong, and nearly went up just a minute into the match but the Stefan Stojanovic goal was called offside by a very short margin. In the 19th minute, Crew 2 opened the scoring after a Columbus shot ricocheted around the box and ended up in the back of the net. Just after, in the 24th minute, Columbus was awarded a penalty kick and Gibran Rayo converted from the spot to double the lead to 2-0.

In the 32nd minute, midfielder CJ Olney made a run on goal, dancing through the box and was taken down by Abdi Mohamed to earn a penalty kick for Union II. Forward Jeremy Rafanello stepped up to the spot and slotted his shot to the bottom left to cut the deficit to 2-1. Just after the kick off, midfielder CJ Olney and forward Jeremy Rafanello provided a spark for Union II once again, combining to level the score at 2-2 with Rafanello’s second goal of the match and fourth of the season.

Union II opened the second half with energy, and in the 49th minute, forward Stefan Stojanovic nearly found the scoresheet on the end of a cross, sending a volley just over the crossbar. Then in the 54th minute, Union II were awarded a free kick just outside the box and nearly completed a hat trick, sending the shot into the side netting.

Forward Jeremy Rafanello completed his hat trick in the 81st minute, scoring a beautiful goal, finding the upper 90 from outside of the box to take the lead for the first time in the match at 3-2. Goalkeeper Brooks Thompson showed late heroics, clearing the ball off of the line to stop Crew 2 from making a comeback,  and claim all three points for Union II. Union II now move up to sixth place in the Eastern Conference standings.

Philadelphia Union II return to action on Sunday, June 4 (6:00 p.m. ET / Apple TV) where they play FC Cincinnati 2 at NKU Soccer Stadium.