Union II looks to make late-season playoff push

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Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

It’s been an up and down MLS Next Pro season for Union II. After a decent start to the year, and falling off playoff pace at the midpoint, Union II is now riding a three-game win streak in the home stretch. Can they make a late-season push for a playoff spot?

Union II
Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union, Andrew Zwarych

Union II has seven matches to earn a playoff spot

Union II has seven matches left to play in their 2022 MLS Next Pro Season. The squad has a lot of raw talent but has relied heavily on first-team substitutes for success. Over the last three weeks, Philly has secured wins at Orlando City B, vs first place Columbus Crew 2, and at FC Cincinnati 2. Now the focus shifts to the last two months to get above that red line.

vs Miami – Sunday, Aug. 14 – 6 pm ET
vs New England – Sunday, Aug. 21 – 7 pm ET
@ New York City – Wednesday, Aug. 24 – 6 pm ET
@ Columbus – Saturday, Aug. 27 – 5:30 pm ET
vs Rochester – Sunday, Sept. 4 – 3:30 pm ET
vs Orlando – Sunday, Sept. 11 – 1 pm ET
@ New England – Sunday, Sept. 18 – 3 pm ET

Philly is four points off of the playoffs and plays four of their final seven matches at home. However, Union II will play three of the current four playoff sides three weeks in a row at the heart of the final stretch. Philly, led by first-teamers, is riding a three-game winning streak into this final stretch and has a huge advantage at the end of the inaugural MLS Next Pro season. Will this be enough for the Union II to make a playoff push?

A team led by first-team substitutes

If you watch a Union II match, you’ll hear the names of players who are actively a part of the first team. Players like Aaronson, Bueno, McGlynn, Real, Sullivan, and more. The Union organization has made an effort to use this second team to get their fringe first-teamers and homegrowns game minutes.

This has made it a bit awkward for promising Union II players like Carlos Paternina, Nelson Pierre, Stefan Stojanovic, and Jose Riasco to get regular playing time. However, a rotation has seen each of these players get minutes on the pitch.

As the rotation of first-team players, Union II players, and even Union academy/amateurs players continues, they have a major advantage over the rest of the MLS Next Pro teams.

A current three-game winning streak, and games in hand

Union II has been on a winning streak over the past three weeks and has games in hand on the rest of the eastern conference. This is a huge advantage to have over teams ahead of them. With only four points separating Philly from the playoff line, the extra games could prove handy for overtaking others.

Philly has recently found a good balance of first-team, Union II, and academy players to get positive results. Now with only seven matches to play, and a huge advantage over those their fighting for a playoff spot, Union II could be en route to a late-season playoff push.

They’ll look to keep the good results going tonight against Inter Miami CF II. If they can get another win, while still having a game in hand on those around them, this could prove to be the moment things swing Philly’s way!

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Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union, Andrew Zwarych