MLS NEXT Pro Match Report

Match report: Inter Miami II 3-3 (3-4) Philadelphia Union II

Photo: Ben Ross

Philadelphia Union II twice surrendered match-evening goals to former Union II striker Shanyder Borgelin, the first in the 81st minute and the second in 4th minute of second half stoppage time, to face its first penalty kick shootout of the season. But first team goalkeeper Matt Freese saved Inter Miami II’s final penalty, setting up teammate Cole Turner to win the shootout 4-3 when Turner converted decisively from the spot after sending former Union Academy keeper CJ Dos Santos the wrong way.

Paxten Aaronson, Jack McGlynn, and Boubacar Diallo scored the regulation goals for Union II.

It was the first time this season that Union II had either played or practiced in subtropical heat.

Temperature at game time was reported to be 82 degrees Fahrenhiet with a skin feel of 85. That the boys in light blue and yellow survived it against Miami’s rugged physicality and pace is a credit to their mentality. The most positive way to express it is that in their futures several younger Union II defenders have opportunities to strengthen their engines and sharpen their concentration. There may well have been a reason why among head coach Marlon LeBlanc’s last four penalty shooters were three older first-team loan downs. The kids were totally spent.

The match began at a pace noticeably slow even for a second-team contest. When the Union began to push forward after the first fifteen minutes, Inter Miami immediately proved that they are definitely dangerous on the counter, and the nascent Union control of play subsided.

Virtually at the death of first half stoppage time, the Boys in Blue got their only corner kick opportunity of the match and Paxton Aaronson converted directly off Brandan Craig’s service. The goal was a smash-and-grab against the run of first half play.

LeBlanc seemed to know that Miami would be formidable. Even with his six first-team loan-downs, he played a 4-4-2 “empty bucket” rather than a narrow diamond, protecting his center backs with a double pivot of Cole Turner and Jack McGlynn. Miami’s Shaan Hundal gave Craig and Jackson Gilman as much as they could handle for the first 50 or so minutes. Then left back Anton Sorenson had to come off injured, and Nathan Nkanji came in to right center back, moving the versatile Gilman to left back. Borgelin is as strong as a bull and he overpowered and out ran Nkanji more than twice. In the young Union II defender’s defense, he has not yet had two years to convert himself from a post-adolescent teenager into a man the same way Borgelin has.

For that matter Hundal, and Borgelin after him, showed that Brandan Craig’s physicality can improve as well. Gilman seemed to handle his challenges by getting to the ball faster than his man. When the other two tried that they were often half a count late.

Miami’s attackers were noticeably older than Philly’s defenders. This match will not be the only time that LeBlanc will need to protect his defenders as they learn and grow.

At the beginning of the second half the Union seemed to have better success high pressing. Ian Abbey and Nelson Pierre came on slightly after the 60th minute to replace Chris Donovan and Stefan Stojanovic at the strikers and Abbey and Aaronson combined to win a penalty kick opportunity that McGlynn converted. But Union II’s defense is not as stout as the first team’s, and from the 74th minute the second half went as described.

LeBlanc made one final move in the 82nd minute, when Boubacar Diallo came on for Carlos Paternina. The move looked like genius six minutes later when Diallo rifled one from outside the 18-year box past Dos Santos to take the lead. But once again Borgelin did his thing, off a corner kick this time, and the match went to penalties.

To win a match against a side strong enough to expose your club’s weaknesses is a good achievement for any team at any level.

Union II next play Sunday, April 10 at 5 p.m. at Subaru Park against Columbus Crew 2, the day after the Union play the Crew.

Three Points:
  1. Both organizations took advantage of the travel delay postponement to get young first-team bench players game minutes. Union first-team loan downs totaled six; Miami, five.
  2. Miami has two former Union Academy players. CJ Dos Santos started in goal making one save prior to the PK shootout, and Shanyder Borgelin was on the bench, subbing in to score a brace drawing the match even both times to force the shootout. In a way the Union provided five of the six goals in the match.
  3. The Man of the Match has to be Union II goalkeeper Matt Freese. His play kept his side in it during the run of play, in spite of having three go past. And his save on Najib’s penalty set up fellow first-teamer Cole Turner to thunder home the winner while sending Miami’s keeper the wrong way.

Union II: 4-4-2 “empty bucket” (L-R): Matt Freese; Anton Sorenson (Nathan Nkanji 55′), Brandan Craig, Jackson Gilman, Frank Westfield; Jack McGlynn, Cole Turner; Paxten Aaronson, Carlos Paternina (Boubacar Diallo 82′); Chris Donovan (Ian Abbey 63′), Stefan Stojanovic (Nelson Pierre 62′). Substitutes: Damion Alguera, Jack Jasinski, Maike Villero, Juan Perdomo, Bajung Darboe . Distribution: 1st team – 6; U II Pros – 7; Academy – 7

Miami II:   CJ Dos Santos; Harvey Neville, Aime Malika (Tyler Hall HT), Modeste Mendez, Logan Batiste, George Acosta (Kobi Thomas 79′), Abel Caputo (Benjamin Cremaschi 62′), Bryce Duke (Braxton Najib HT), Edison Azcona, Shaan Hundal (Shanyder Borgelin 62′), Romeo Beckham. Substitutes: Andre Zuluaga; Tyler Bagley, Dairon Reyes, Lawson Sunderland. Distribution (uncertain): 1st team – 5; M II Pros – 6+4?; Academy – 5


Union II        45+2      Aaronson (Craig)

Union II       68            McGlynn (PK)

Miami II      74             Cremaschi (Beckham)

Miami II      81             Borgelin (Beckham)

Union II      88             Diallo (Craig)

Miami II     90+4        Borgelin (Beckham)

Penalty Kick Shootout

Matt Freese vs CJ Dos Santos vs
Edison Azcona GOAL


Nelson Pierre – Saved
Romeo Beckham – missed


Paxton Aaronson GOAL
Modeste Mendez GOAL


Jack McGlynn GOAL
Kobi Thomas GOAL


Boubacar Diallo GOAL
Braxton Najib Saved


Cole Turner GOAL

Union II      48th min      Craig (foul)

Miami II      63rd min      Mendes (foul)

Miami II       90+1 min.    Beckham (foul)


Union II

Miami II








Shots on Goal



Blocked shots



Total passes



Passing accuracy












Duels won



Tackles won












Yellow Cards



Red Cards



REF: Joshua Encarnacion     AR1: Rhett Hammil      AR2: Preston Joyner     4TH: Ivan Cid Cruz


  1. Andy Muenz says:

    Definitely agree that Freese was man of the match, even before the PK save.
    As you mentioned in a previous post, the broadcast was not high quality. The camera was far enough away that it was difficult to tell individual players from one another. During the shootout it would randomly swing away from the goal to midfield or even to the other end. The commentator’s audio was missing for long stretches. And they disproved light traveling faster than sound when the audio seemed to be about a second ahead of the video so I would hear either the announcer or the crowd before I’d see the ball go in.
    My wife who hasn’t been to a Union II game yet was wondering why I started singing The Immigrant Song every time they scored.

  2. I am not as familiar with the two strikers Chris Donovan and Stefan Stojanovic yet but from my untrained eye they still seemed to be a step behind the rest of the team in terms of style and speed of play. Once Abbey and Pierre came on, our pressing was much more effective and we seemed more fast and dangerous.

    • Tim Jones says:

      Donovan said after the Cincinnati match that he and Stojanovic are still learning each other.
      Being a pro is different.
      I have been pleased that both have committed so well to defending, especially in the Cincinnati game they seemed quite effective doing so.
      I share your concern when it comes to scoring though. The Union II have five goals: one from an academy midfielder, one from a U II attacking mid, and three from 1st team loan-down mids. No striker has yet scored.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


%d bloggers like this: