Philadelphia Union II / Player of the Week

Player of the Week: Michee Ngalina

Photo courtesy Bethlehem Steel

The first team isn’t the only part of the Philadelphia Union having a good season.

Bethlehem Steel clinched a playoff birth for the second consecutive season with a 1-0 win over Tampa Bay Rowdies on Sunday in the Lehigh Valley.

Thanks to an outstanding defensive performance, the Steel needed only one goal to get three points.

It came in the 13th minute from teenager Michee Ngalina.

His goal was an absolute howitzer, the kind that sends shivers down a goalkeeper’s spine.

Ngalina, just barely 18 years old, has been a key part of this youthful Bethlehem side. The Congolese winger finished the season with six goals in 17 league starts — four of them game-winners, including the big one this past weekend.

For a Union club that has made growing young talent a priority, the Steel have been a tremendous resource, giving teenagers the chance to make the most of real professional minutes under the capable eye of Brendan Burke. Making the playoffs for a second straight year is some evidence that that young talent is… well, talented. It’s not hard to imagine key contributors from this year’s side becoming key contributors to the Union in the not too distant future.

Ngalina, for example, may be a year or two away from the first team — even if he did wear a Union shirt in their U.S. Open Cup match against Richmond. But the flashes of skill are all there. Just ask PSP homegrown Adam Cann what he thinks of the kid.

The Steel face off against the fierce Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. in Pittsburgh. The game’s on ESPN+, and PSP will have match previews and coverage this week from Sara Griswold and the indefatigable Tim Jones.

Without one irrepressible 18-year-old, this game might never have happened.

For that, Michee Ngalina is PSP’s player of the week.

One Comment

  1. Ngalina’s goal also secured Bethlehem’s first ever win over Tampa Bay.

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