USL - Philadelphia Union II / USL Match report

Match report: Philadelphia Union II 0-6 Pittsburgh Riverhounds

Photo: Sean Griswold

In their first match back, the Philadelphia Union II fell to in-state rivals, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, 6-0. It was the second match played at Subaru Park, and it highlighted several concerns in the Union II’s back line. Pittsburgh was coming off a victory against Louisville City FC on SUnday, and now have a strong lead in the group after tonight. 

Before the tap, all players and staff took a knee during the national anthem, with many raising a fist in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. There was also a 15 second moment of silence honoring the fight against injustice and racism. 

A physical match from the beginning, exacerbated by the hot night. In the 11th minute Axel Picazo had the first chance of the match, running onto a ball and hitting a low shot just wide of the net. Two minutes later, Kenardo Fobes had a free kick just outside of the box that Ben Martino had to dive to knock away cleanly. 

The Riverhounds took the lead in the 29th minute when Ropapa Mensah ran onto a cross by Daniel Griffin. A hydration break followed, but Pittsburgh settled in and controlled the match. Their second goal came in the 37th minute after some poor marking by the Union II. Scrambling trying to mark attackers, Philly allowed Pittsburgh to make three passes in the box, before the ball came to Danny Griffin who had a clear shot to the lower corner of the net. Pittsburgh led the match 2-0 at the end of the first half. 

The second half tap was prefaced with a 15 second round of applause for all healthcare workers fighting this pandemic. Union II head coach, Sven Gartung made four substitutions, putting on Jack Jasinski, Saed Diaz, Luis Flores and Quinn Sullivan before the start of the second half. Pittsburgh almost made it 3-0 in the 58th minute when a shot from Mensah went off the post after a run down the sideline and some passing dissected Philly’s defense. But only a minute later, Anthony Velarde scored to put Pittsburgh further ahead following a pass from Forbes. The fourth goal came from just subbed on, Lukas Fernandez in the 68th minute.

Comfortable with their four goal lead, Pittsburgh calmly controlled the match, with the Union II not really generating any chances on goal. Their fifth goal came from Steevan Dos Santos only seconds after he came onto the pitch in the 82nd. The sixth and final goal once again came from Dos Santos, heading it past Martino in the 87th minute. Pittsburgh controlled the ball through the end of the match, easily winning 6-0.

Three Points
  1. Shaking off some rust. It was to be expected in their first match back. There were some poor passes, a few heavy touches, and some sloppier than normal footwork, but it wasn’t predominant and not a huge hindrance on the match. Philadelphia and Pittsburgh seemed to have equal amounts of issues, making the match all the more tougher. 
  2. New faces. With a few of Gartung’s starters in Orlando with the first team, there were some new faces this match. David Rabadan and Ben Martino made their professional debuts as starters, but Jack Jasinski and Quinn Sullivan both made their first professional appearances as well. 
  3. Defensive struggles. While nothing new for the Union II, the defense had a difficult time spreading out and marking up, and reading Pittsburgh’s attacking plays. It’s a serious concern since none of those defenders are new to the professional level, allowing four goals in 68 minutes. One can only hope but they can only get better with more time and experience.
Lineups

Philadelphia Union II

Benjamin Martino; Dante Huckaby, Jamoi Topey (Jack Jasinski, HT), Ben Ofeimu, Nathan Harriel; Steve Kingue, David Rabadan, Zach Zandi (c) (Danny Flores, HT), Axel Picazo (Selmir Miscic, 78′); Yomi Scintu (Quinn Sullivan, HT), Shanyder Borgelin (Saed Diaz, HT)

Unused substitutes: Jack McGlynn

Pittsburgh Riverhounds

Tomas Gomez; Ryan James, Hunter Ashworth, Skylar Thomas, Jordan Dover (Daniel Rovira, 73′); Kenardo Forbes (c), Anthony Velarde (Lukas Fernandes, 63′), Thomas Vancayezeele, Danny Griffin (Dakota Barnathan, 73′); Ropapa Mensah (Mark Forrest, 63′), Robbie Mertz (Steevan Dos Santos, 81′)

Unused substitutes: Daniel Vitello, Dizhell Asani 

Scoring Summary

PIT – 29’ – Ropapa Mensah (Danny Griffin) 

PIT – 37’ – Danny Griffin (Robbie Mertz)

PIT – 59′ – Anthony Velarde (Kenardo Forbes)

PIT – 68′ – Lukas Fernandez (Danny Griffin)

PIT – 82′ – Steevan Dos Santos

PIT – 87′ – Steevan Dos Santos

Disciplinary 

PHL – 58′ – Nathan Harriel – Yellow

2 Comments

  1. Andy Muenz says:

    The Union II were clearly outclassed (and Dos Santos should have converted the hat trick as an 80th minute sub), but this is the type of test which will hopefully give this young team experience. The good news is that it won’t take much to show improvement in the rematch in a couple of weeks.

  2. Tim Jones says:

    The average age of the Union II’s starting lineup was 20.1.
    .
    The average age of the group that started the second half was 17.2

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