Union II

Top of the Table Union II get past Crown Legacy FC, 3-0


After a gritty first half, Philadelphia Union II came alive in the second half to remain at the top of the Eastern Conference with a 3-0 road win over Crown Legacy FC on Thursday night.

Leandro Soria opened the scoring for the Boys in Blue as he came off the bench and scored his first MLS NEXT Pro goal in the 65th minute. Captains Kyle Tucker and Frankie Westfield connected off a corner kick for the Union Academy graduate’s third of the season to double the visitor’s advantage. CJ Olney right on the back of his time with the United States U-19 Youth National Team continued his tremendous 2024 campaign with his forth goal of the season with a finish in stoppage time.

Head Coach Marlon LeBlanc was forced into five changes from their previous match with regulars Sanders Ngabo unavailable due to yellow card accumulation, CJ Olney just back from a long flight from Argentina after featuring with the U.S. U-19 Youth National Team and both Olwethu Makhanya and David Vazquez held back in Chester for the first team’s contest on Saturday night. With a next man up mentality, Randy Meneses paired up Jamir Berdecio as defensive midfielders while Carlos Rojas slotted in alongside Neil Pierre on the back line.

Neither side were able to generate any threatening chances until the 16th minute when a quick ball over the top sent Academy graduate Eddy Davis III through on a breakaway. Crown Legacy FC goalkeeper Nick Holliday raced off his line to shut down the scoring angle but Davis got around the keeper however saw his touch went too wide for a shot as the defense recovered.

A few minutes later Crown Legacy nearly had their own breakaway chance as a ball slipped through the defense into the path of Cam Duke however homegrown keeper Andrew Rick saw the play coming and was off his line to collect. Rick was called upon for a huge save in the 26th minute as the hosts were awarded a free kick opportunity outside the 18 that connected captain Philip Mayaka with a unmarked run inside the six but was deflected aside by the Union shot stopper.

The deadlock was nearly broken before the halftime whistle in Union II’s favor as Cavan Sullivan intercepted a pass near the center circle. The 14-year-old homegrown’s play presented the visitors with a 3v2 counter attack and saw the ball pushed out to the left side for Davis. With Sal Olivas making a run to the far post in a full sprint, the Union forward tried to whip it in but have a little too much weight behind the ball as it sailed over the Legacy net.

At the break Leandro Soria was inserted into the Union II lineup as he took over atop the formation in place of Davis. Union II were eager in their first possession of the half taking the kick off up the right side of the formation to set up a cross from Gavin Wetzel that was cleared to the top of the box where captain Frankie Westfield had a go from distance but saw the effort blocked. Five minutes into the final half Westfield sent a breakaway pass through the Crown Legacy FC defense to send the fresh leg forward in on goal. With a quick touch forward, the Argentine tried to slip the ball over keeper as he raced toward him but saw the shot turned aside. The Boys in Blue continued to dominate the offensive attempts early on in the half as Nick Pariano whipped a cross into the box that nearly connected with Sal Olivas for a redirected attempt at the near post but it went just wide.

Just before the hour mark, LeBlanc turned to Olney in the midfield as the playmaker replaced Pariano in the 59th minute. Right after the change, the home side nearly found the back of the net as Aron John collected a pass at the top of the box but hit a curler well off the mark.

Union II’s pressure and offense finally broke through in the 65th minute as Soria made the most of his second chance of the evening. Wetzel intercepted a pass to start Union II offense and then shot a volley into the path of Soria. As the Crown defense tried to win the ball, the Argentine quickly flicked it to his right where Sal Olivas was ready for a quick passing combo. Soria stayed in stride and recollected the pass from Olivas and was once again 1v1 against the keeper. Unlike the first attempt of the half, Soria cashed in for his first MLS NEXT Pro goal that had Union II in the lead.

With the lead on the road, Union II shook up the midfield further as team captain Kyle Tucker and Giovanny Sequera entered in place of Meneses and Sullivan. Shortly after the conceding, Crown Legacy nearly regained momentum on a quick counter however the final pass couldn’t connect as Brian Romero saw his effort end up well off target.

With the game in the balance, Union II doubled its advantage in the in the 84th minute as Tucker whipped in a pin perfect corner kick that Westfield met right as its apex with a floating header that snuck under the post.

Once again the substitutes played a key role in Union II’s third goal to seal the three points as Sequera snuck a pass to the feet of Olney for the one timer.

Philadelphia Union II will be off for the next two weeks before they return home to face off against rivals New York Red Bulls on Wednesday, June 26. Kick off from Subaru Park is set for 6PM ET with tickets available for purchase by clicking here.