USL - Philadelphia Union II / USL Match report

Match report: Philadelphia Union II 1-2 Atlanta United II

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

A stoppage-time goal from recent first-team signing Paxten Aaronson wasn’t enough for Philadelphia Union II on Wednesday night, as they fell 2-1 to visitors Atlanta United II.

Having had their previous three matches postponed due to at least one positive case of COVID-19, Union II entered the match having not played a match since a 3-2 home win against New York Red Bulls II on August 5.

That match served as Marlon LeBlanc’s first game as Union II’s head coach, for which he had less than 48 hours to prepare from the time he was notified of his new position.  He would have substantially more prep time, 29 days to be exact, before his second match in charge against Atlanta United II.

Atlanta United II came into the match looking for their first win since July 29, a 3-1 victory against Miami FC.  Winless in their last six matches, Atlanta would need to secure all three points against Union II in order to avoid becoming the first USLC team to be officially eliminated from contention for the playoffs.

Union II started the match aggressively.  Through the first 15 minutes, they pressed well against United II to create a few chances.  A decent opportunity came in the 6th minute on a Danny Flores corner to the far post with a few Union II players making runs, but ultimately led to a shot well off-target.

Despite some early success on the press, Union II couldn’t quite find a rhythm in creating chances in the final third for the rest of the half.

United II did not look particularly dangerous, but their possession (67% vs 33% for the Union in the 1st half) lead to more meaningful chances in the final third.  A good look came in the 16 minute off a United II corner.  Jack Gurr delivered a good cross into the box which found the head of Modou Jadama, who put it just over the bar.

Another dangerous corner four minutes later was played short, swung into the box, but again the header was off-target, this time coming from Abdoulaye Diop. Another United II corner in the 24th minute was whipped into a dangerous area but punched away nicely by Budler, who was sharp on the evening with his reads coming off the line.

A few minutes after the first hydration break, David Radaban picked up the game’s first yellow card.  The card led to a decent set-pice for United II, with Jack Gurr sending a ball into the box, which bounced around dangerously for a few seconds, before being cleared by the Union II defense.

The breakthrough for United II came just before half in the 45th minute.  A slight mis-read by the Union II defense on a cross field pass led to United II’s Macky Diop picking up the ball in the Unions half with plenty of room.  He accelerated with the ball, cut around the Union defender, and ripped a shot into the top corner to give United II a 1-0 lead going into the half.

The second half started slowly for both teams.  In a very cool display of solidarity with the current movement to end systemic racism, both United II and Union II players stopped play in the 52nd minute and proceeded to take a knee around the midfield circle. From the start of the 52nd minute through 53:46 of the first half, both teams knelt to bring attention to the need for social change.

Play proceeded, with most of the second half mimicking the first.  Union II substitute Saed Diaz did get two decent looks in the 64th minute.  After his first shot was blocked, Diaz scrambled to get a touch on the ball towards goal, but United II goalkeeper Vicente Reyes did well to get his body in front.

In the 72 minute, LeBlanc brought on Paxten Aaronson who, during the 29 day break between matches, signed a homegrown contract with the Philadelphia Union.

The game entered 7 minutes of stoppage with Union II trying to find an equalizer.  However it would be United II finding the net again in the 2nd minute of stoppage time.  United II’s Amir Bashti chipped the ball to the back post.  Budler had an opportunity to control, but the ball slipped through his hand and fell to David Mejia, who put the ball in the back of the net.

Union II would get one back in the 96th minute, when a deflected shot came right to Aaronson’s foot, who put the ball away in the far corner for his first career goal.

Union would get one last set piece in the final seconds, but Aaronson’s ball into the box couldn’t find a finisher, and the game ended 2-1.

Three Points

It Feels like the First Time: Congrats to Paxten Aaronson on his first career goal.

Stayin’ Alive:  Atlanta United II earned 3 points to avoid being eliminated from contention for the USLC Playoffs.

Forever Young:  The Union II’s average age of the starting lineup was 17.8, which is their youngest starting lineup ever.  Brandan Craig became the youngest ever caption at age 16.4.

Lineups

Philadelphia Union II

Mitchell Budler; Jack Jasinski (Steve Kingue, 72′) , Dante Huckaby, Brandan Craig(c), Anthony Sorenson; Danny Flores, David Rabadan (Paxten Aarson, 73′), Axel Picazo (Jamoi Mopey, 90′), Sean Bettenhausen (Ben Ofeimu, 45′), Selmir Miscic (Saed Diaz, 62′), Patrick Bohui.

Unused subs: Ben Martino, Jack McGlynn

Atlanta United II

Vicente Reyes, Phillip Goodrum (D. Mejia, 86′), J.J Williams (Coleman Gannons, 45′), Abdoulaye Diop (Jackson Conway, 45′), Baboucarr Njie (Daniel Steedman, 60′), Caleb Wiley, Macky Diop (Amir Bashti, 69′), William Reilly, Jack Gurr, Patrick Neilson, Modou Jadama(c),

Unused subs: Matthew Edwards, Ben Lundgaard

Scoring Summary

ATL – Macky Dip 45′

ATL – David Mejia 90+2′

PHL – Paxten Aaronson 90+6′

Misconduct Summary

PHL – David Rabadan (yellow) 39′

PHL – Jack Jasinski (yellow) 47′

ATL – Phillip Goodrum (yellow) 53′

PHL – Brandan Craig (yellow) 67′

2 Comments

  1. Awesome write up! Missed the game but glad I found this!

  2. What a game!

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