Philadelphia Union II continues their road swing on Sunday night, renewing their rivalry against New York Red Bulls II on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.
Union II comes into the contest amid a three-game road trip as they look for bounce back result against their league rivals. Last weekend Marlon LeBlanc’s squad kicked off their road trip with a 1-0 loss to Atlanta United II.
The final score was not indicative of the match, as the Union had jam-packed opportunities to get on the board with the first occurring in the 11th minute after forward Jeremy Rafanello nearly opened up the game with a shot to the upper right corner from a freekick outside the box. Though the Union continued to pepper their opponents’ keeper, Atlanta took their place on the board after forward Nick Firmino caught the end of a long ball sent over the Union backline, passing it to forward Karim Tmimi who shot put Atlanta up 1-0 in the 40th.
In a last minute effort to find the equalizer, forward Nelson Pierre chipped the ball to forward Stefan Stojanovic whose header forced Atlanta’s goalkeeper to clinch a diving save in the 85th minute. Though the Union were an attacking threat on transitions and set-pieces throughout the game, the ball ultimately could not find the back of the net. Despite the result, the Union II walked away outshooting Atlanta by an 11 to eight margin, generating more corners and crossing opportunities than their opponent and consistently testing the keeper and backline. Their ability to find consistent rhythm in the final third is paying off in chances, they just need quality finishes to take off in season.
Sunday’s match marks the first time the two sides will face off in MLS NEXT Pro competition. While it will be the first in league play, Union II and Red Bulls II have quite the rivalry from the past having played multiple times each season between 2016-2020.
New York Red Bulls II are currently 2(W)-1(L)-3(D) in the season thus far, winning two of their last three matches and most recently taking home the extra point in a post-regulation shootout win against Chicago Fire FC II after drawing 0-0 in full time. Red Bulls II starting goalkeeper AJ Marcucci currently leads MLS NEXT Pro with three clean sheets on the year and is second in the league in saves with 25. Their faceoff against Union II begins a three match homestand for New York who currently stand 1(W)-1(L)-1(D) at home.
If the Union want to find success in their battle against the Red Bulls, they would do well to find ways around starting goalkeeper AJ Marcucci who has made 23 saves to set up four wins in six starts.