Philadelphia Union II / USL Match report

Match report: Philadelphia Union II 0-0 Loudoun United

Photo Credit: Philadelphia Union II Communications

The first match of the season and the first home match for the newly branded, Philadelphia Union II resulted in a scoreless draw against Loudoun United tonight.

Starting off their first match of the season strong, the Union II were creating chances and dominating more of the possession in the first 10 minutes of the match. Fielding a young team, Philly’s USL team showed that they are ready for 2020 while their older and more experienced players like Zach Zandi and Issa Rayyan were on the bench.

After the 15th minute mark, the tides shifted in favor of Loudoun though. First team goalkeeper, Matt Freese came up with a stong save in the 19th minute off the head of Ally Ng’anzi, who got past Tyger Evans and Dante Huckaby on a run. From there, the match went back and forth with both sides looking equal.

The best chance for Philly came from 18-year-old captain Axel Picazo in the 32nd minute. After moving the ball through most of Loudon’s half, Picazo hit a nice low shot to left corner just outside of the box, forcing Colin Miller to dive to the ground to keep the score tied. Just three minutes later, Shanyder Borgelin ripped a shot just over the crossbar on the edge of the box as the Union II started to press. A series of passes between Picazo, Evans and Danny Flores on the left side led to another great chance in the 41st, but the cross was just in front of Jack De Vries. In the second minute of extra time in the first half, De Vries had an inadvertent cross that went through the six yard box to Borgelin on the left side of the net, and couldn’t be tucked away. Despite the chances in the first half, the score was 0-0 after 45 minutes.

The only change at halftime was Rayyan, who came on as right back for Dante Huckaby. Shortly into the second half, 16 year-old Jack McGlynn made his professional debut after signing his contract earlier in the week.

Much like the first half, chances went back and forth. Rayyan took down a Loudoun United player just outside the box, giving up a free kick in the 66th. It was taken by Moses Nyeman and went just over the crossbar. After that, McGlynn’s corner couldn’t be tucked away, and minutes later Freese had a big save following a breakaway run for Loudoun. Both teams were hungry for a goal as they went end to end on the pitch.

Philly could have won the game in the 90th when a shot from Zandi was saved but deflected by the goalkeeper, and fell to Yomi Scintu in the scramble. Scintu was able to get a shot off, but it bounced off the side post. Even with the three minutes of added time, the final score was 0-0 in the Union II’s first match of the season.

Three points

Youth is the way. The starting eleven’s age average at 18.4 years old, one of the club’s youngest teams. Yomi Scintu was the oldest starter at 22, while Dante Huckaby was the youngest at 16. Rayyan and Zandi both came on in the second half, bringing up the average a bit, but with Jack McGlynn making his first professional appearance in the second half, he kept the team’s average low.

A good start. Despite the result being a scoreless draw, the Union II showed a lot of promise for the 2020 season this match. Head coach, Sven Gartung siad that he was pleased with his team’s performance and that his younger players showed a lot of promise for the rest of the season.

Passing problems. After a series of a few beautiful passes, the Union II would have a terrible turnover. It was prevalent throughout the first half, and especially common in Philly’s own half. Bad turnovers have been an issue for the club in the past, and it looks like the same issue will plague the team again this season.


Philadelphia Union II

Matt Freese; Tyger Evans, Dante Huckaby, Ben Ofeimu, Nathan Harriel (Issa Rayyan 46′); Danny Flores (Jack McGlynn 62′), Cole Turner, Jack De Vries (Zach Zandi 70′), Axel Picazo; Shanyder Borgelin, Yomi Scintu. Unused substitutes: Todd Morton, Steve Kingue

Loudoun United

Colin Miller; Peabo Doue, Adam Lundegard, Shane Wiedt, Allexon Saravia; Moses Nyeman, Kevin Paredes; Jeremy Garay, Elvis Amoh, Michael Gamble (Brandon Williamson 76′), Alioune Ndour (Josh Fawole 57′). Unused substitutes: Jake Dengler, Ally Ng’anzi, Ted Ku-DiPietro




LOU: Saravia – Yellow – 45’+2′

PHI: Cole Turner – Yellow – 60′

PHI: Ben Ofeimu – Yellow – 85′

PHI: Dante Huckaby – Yellow – 87′


  1. Actually thought they looked fairly good. Were able to find a lot of space and attack often, even though nothing came from it most of the time. It’s only 1 game but I thought they looked more capable than how they played last year for sure.

  2. Andy Muenz says:

    Except for about a 15 minute stretch during the first half, I thought the Union II were the better team but had some difficulty putting their shots on target. Matt Freese looked good with a couple of tough saves.
    Not only was the team young, the crowd seemed to be a younger average age than for Union games with a lot of families bringer their kids (although old fogies like me helped bring the average age up).

  3. Tim Jones says:

    Gartung seemed to select his starting side to maximize speed and quickness.
    The gegenpress was impressive at times. There were certainly many examples of attacking the the opposing ball carrier aggressively, but whether that is the characteristic coach Gartung wants as its underlying principle only he can confirm.
    Nine of the 11 starters were teenagers, as Sara’s average age suggests.
    The 2020 rules now summarized in the USLC press guide on the league’s website confirm that only five academy players may participate in any one game. Since they started five academy boys, none could provide reinforcements on the bench.
    Jamoi Topey was neither on the pitch nor the bench, after having gotten a green card and making it to first-team preseason early in February, and second team preseason later in the same month. Given his history, it is a fair question to ask whether he is injured? Dante Huckaby filled it effectively at left center back.
    Issa Rayyan replacing Nathan Harriel at right back made U2 much more dangerous attacking down the right channel in the second half.
    Yomi SCintu has plenty of improvement ahead of him, particularly in terms of putting his shots on frame and past the keeper, but it was far and away his best game ever as a member of the organization, he started, played the full match, and was pushing himself hard to defend almost all the time.
    Danny Flores subbing off in the 62nd seemed to correspond to the game becoming more of an exchange of end-to-end offensive rushes. Jack McGlynn replaced him, providing more offensive punch, but also illustrating his own self-opportunities for future growth in coach Gartung’s defensive scheme.
    Loudon clearly knew about Jack de Vries and may have been concentrating on him. The quality of his service was evident however the few times he was allowed to contribute it.
    Zach Zandi may not have quite the extra smidgen of defensive speed and quickness that Gartung wants in his starters, but his ability to find the key pass to create chances was evident during the final 20 minutes when he was on the pitch.
    North Carolina next week is not an MLS affiliate player development side and will provide a more physical, more experienced challenge. It will be interesting to learn whether Gartung’s high pressure and berserker-like attacks on the ball carrier will disrupt Dave Sarachan’s more experienced players.
    Were there a way to quantify comparing the speed of the Union 2’s counter pressure to that of New York Red Bulls II, the result would make interesting reading.

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