Philadelphia Union II hosted Toronto FC II on Friday night in a high-scoring matchup at home, emerging victorious with a 5-3 win. With two regular season games left, the team is now just a point away from chasing down Chicago Fire II, who sit just above the playoff line in 7th.
Head Coach Marlon LeBlanc trotted out a fortified lineup, featuring multiple first team faces including Chris Donovan, Jeremy Rafanello, and Quinn Sullivan. Despite the veteran presence on the attacking end, Toronto FC II earned the first goal of the night in the opening minutes.
Just six minutes in, Toronto II forward Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty booted the ball from distance and a near block from Neil Pierre sent the shot upward and out of Union II keeper Andrew Rick’s reach. The goal gave them their only lead of the night.
Union II responded with a score of their own in the 24th minute – Chris Donovan found his own rebound, diving for a header from the left side of the six yard box, equalizing the score.
Both teams headed to the lockerroom with just one point on the board halftime, but when they returned to the pitch, Philadelphia Union II quickly claimed the advantage, firing three goals to the back of the net in a 10 minute span.
The relentless attack started in the 50th minute, when Frankie Westfield headed the ball off a Jeremy Rafanello cross. A quick five minutes later, Quinn Sullivan burst toward the net, getting caught in Toronto FC II double team but found Stefan Stojanovic for a volley in.
As Union II’s lead grew, so did their energy. In the 58th minute, Jeremy Rafanello made the score 4-1 with a blast from outside of the box.
Toronto II found a goal of their own in the 76th minute, but Chris Donovan ensured Philadelphia remained far ahead, scoring a second goal on the night. A perfect pass across the field from CJ Olney put Donovan in optimal position to use his speed to power past Toronto's defenders and put the ball away for a brace.
The away side’s Reshaun Walkes found a header in the 86th minute, minimizing the gap one final time. The game ended 5-3 giving Union II three points to fuel their push toward a playoff spot.
Union II will be back at home on Sunday, September 17th to take on Huntsville City FC at Subaru Park. Click here for tickets!