Philadelphia Union II opened its busy June schedule against FC Cincinnati 2 at Northern Kentucky University Soccer Stadium on Sunday night, falling 2-1.
The Union entered the game in a 4-4-2 formation, nearly claiming a lead early. In the 9th minute, midfielder David Vazquez took a powerful left footed shot from outside the box, but it just missed the back of the net and instead ricocheted off the crossbar.
Vazquez, a 17-year-old Union Academy player, was very active in nearly every attack in the start of the first half. He had another near-goal in the 16th minute; forward Stefan Stojanovic passed him the ball before he took another left-footed boot from the right side of the box, but it was saved by Cincinnati keeper Evan Louro.
The Union saw a handful of very promising opportunities to put points on the board at the end of the first half. The aggressive offensive push started with 16-year-old midfielder Christopher Olney, who had two consecutive attempts blocked by Cincinnati’s unrelenting defense in the 38th and 40th minutes.
Similarly, defender Anton Sorenson’s left footed shot from outside the box in the 41st minute was also blocked by an opposing defender before it could reach Louro’s territory. Forward Nelson Pierre nearly headed the ball in from an Olney cross following a corner in an effort to finally put the Union’s first points on the board, but the attempt soared over the net.
In Cincinnati’s next possession, Bret Halsey scored his first-ever Cincinnati goal with a left footed shot from the left side of the box to the bottom left corner to take the lead.
The Union had a less than favorable start to the second half, as Hugo Le Guennec was dealt a red card in the 48th minute following a collision with a Cincinnati attacker attempting to break free toward the goal. The foul was Le Guennec’s second yellow of the game, causing a red. He received his first in the 23rd minute.
Soon after, Vazquez earned a yellow card of his own in the 55th minute.
Despite a valiant effort from keeper Andrew Rick, who had five big saves on the day, Cincinnati scored a second goal in the 59th minute against the undermanned Union squad. Midfielder Gerardo Valenzuela booted the ball from outside the box, soaring to the bottom left corner of the net.
Philadelphia finally decreased its deficit in the 74th minute – Union Academy forward Luciano Sanchez scored his first ever professional goal with a shot from the center of the box, landing in the bottom left corner. His goal was assisted by Christopher Olney.
The Union II was unable to equalize the score by the end of fulltime.
The team, now ranked 8th in the Eastern Conference with a 3-6-3 record, will return to their home turf on Friday, June 9 at 7:00 p.m. where they’ll play Atlanta United 2 at Subaru Park.