Union II Face New York Red Bulls II In Top of Table Clash

Union II
Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union II

While the senior team is enjoying a bye week this weekend from MLS action, there’s still MLS Next Pro action for Union II as they take on fellow unbeaten side New York Red Bulls II at Subaru Park.

Union II
Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union II

Union II vs Red Bulls II Preview 

Marlon LeBlanc’s side are coming off a massive 5-0 thumping of Atlanta United 2 last weekend, a performance that locked in the best start in Union II history to an MLS Next Pro season. Senior team members Chris Donovan and Markus Anderson started the game up top, to give both Eddy Davis and Sal Olivas a rest after starting the season on fire, and it wasn’t long until Donovan was back to doing what he did best in a Union II shirt after grabbing two goals. 

CJ Olney and captain Kyle Tucker also had little personal competition over who could score the better free kick, and Tucker managed to just edge out Olney’s earlier goal, with the captain earning the MLS Next Pro Goal of Matchweek 5 award for his effort. Vice-Captain Frankie Westfield put in two, top-quality performances in a short space of time and was recognized as the MLS Next Rising Star of the Matchweek.

Union II
Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union II

A Look at Red Bulls II

Union II’s opponents, New York Red Bulls II also possess the same record as their hosts, however, they top the table after managing to win both their extra-point shootouts, with Philly only managing to win 1. Their last game was a chaos-filled 5-5 draw with Chicago Fire II, with New York taking a 4-0 lead early in the first half, thanks to the fastest hattrick in MLS Next Pro history from forward Roald Mitchell, it took just 18 minutes for the young forward to grab his 3 goals. 

Chicago managed to get the scoreline back to 4-3 but an own goal from Chicago gave New York a 5-3 lead and many thought the game was over until Chicago netted two goals in seven minutes to grab a point, with New York managing to edge the extra point shootout.  

Roald Mitchell will be the key to New York being successful against Marlon LeBlanc’s side. The young forward now has 8 goals in the opening 7 games, and he’s currently accounting for 61.5% of his team’s total goals this season. With the way New York plays their football, a very similar high pressing attack to Union II, Mitchell will be key for them capitalizing on the mistakes their high press could cause Union II’s backline.

Union, Union II
Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union II

Who will feature for U II? 

With Philly’s senior team having a bye week this weekend in the MLS, it’ll be interesting to see if any more first-team members will be made available for selection, as we saw with Donovan and Anderson last game.  

Marlon LeBlanc will also be looking to reintegrate the U17’s squad members after giving them the past two games off for recovery after their 2nd consecutive GA Cup win. The only U17 squad member we’ve seen since they went off to win that 2nd GA Cup is Neil Pierre, who was a 2nd half-substitute in the 5-0 crushing of Atlanta United. 

I’ve been covering UII games ever since their first-ever game 3 years back, and I can comfortably say this is the best I’ve ever seen them perform. The talent they have in this squad, before adding the first team members into the equation like Anderson and Donovan, is ridiculous for this level and this game, against a high-flying conference rival like New York, is exactly the big test this team needs to truly prove they’re one of the top favorites to win it all this year. 

The game is at Subaru Park on Sunday 21st April, with kickoff scheduled at 3 pm ET. If you’re not thinking of attending the game in person, you can watch the game at home through Apple TV and an active MLS Season Pass membership.

Union II, Cavan sullivan
Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union II

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Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union II