MLS NEXT Pro Match Report

Match report: Philadelphia Union II 5-1 New England Revolution II

Photo: Ben Ross

Philadelphia Union II beat New England Revolution II 5-1 Sunday evening at Subaru Park, pushing themselves into fourth place in the eastern conference after the other results on the weekend.

A match that was very evenly contested for its first 53 minutes became a laugher in the second half, as Union II exploited a man advantage and after head coach Marlon LeBlanc make a judicious halftime substitution at striker.

New England went down a man in the 36th minute when captain midfielder Jake Rozhansky earned a second yellow card. The visitors kept the score deadlocked until a Union II corner kick in the 54th minute came off a New England head to Quinn Sullivan, whose shot ricocheted to Matt Real who slotted home on the near post to open the flood gates. The Union scored three more goals within eight minutes, a brace from defensive midfielder Jesus Bueno, who made runs to the far post that New England failed to mark, and a goal from Nathan Harriel, on which Cole Turner collected his second assist on the night.

New England head coach Clint Peay brought on four younger players in the 70th minute, not exactly a concession but an acknowledgement that his time was best spent giving minutes to younger, smaller players. Those subs were game, and their grit helped score a consolation goal in the 87th minute. By then Sullivan had made it 5-0 on an assist from Stojanovic and the three points were beyond doubt.

A fact in advance

Yesterday’s game began a sequence of three matches in seven days against teams above Union II in the table. The three results will go a long way towards deciding whether Union II makes the MLS NEXT Pro playoffs. The Union’s technical staff may have made a statement of intent by sending 10 first-team reserves to confront Revolution II on the night.

First Half

The first half was evenly matched. Union II started all those first-teamers, so their pattern of play followed the principles of the first team. New England II made little attempt to pressure Union II’s center backs, and long balls to the center, and diagonally to the flanks were their pattern. Union II had three or four breakaway situations but did not convert. Free kicks were their other major source of first-half offensive threat.

New England played more for possession, shifting the ball horizontally looking for opportunities to break vertically.

The pattern changed in the 36th minute when New England captain midfielder Jake Rozhansky received his second yellow card for deliberately falling and handling the ball to prevent a potential breakaway situation. From that point on, New England played a bunker while Union II confronted the usual challenge Philadelphia teams face trying to penetrate a parked bus.

First half possession was even. Union II outshot New England 15-7. Both keepers, Max Wienstein for Revs II and Matt Freese for Union II, were called upon to make some strong saves in dangerous situations.

Second Half

New England tried to catch Union II flat-footed at the beginning of second half play, but only until Real broke through.

Then came the barrage from Bueno and Harriel. Sullivan had the first assist, then Turner got a pair of them. LeBlanc responded to coach Peay’s decision to play his bench by removing Bueno and Turner for Diallo and Westfield in the 72nd.  After Stojanovic fed Sullivan to make it 5-0, LeBlanc sent Paternina and Pierre on for  Aaronson and Donovan respectively. The changes in midfielder and striker helped pave the way for New England’s face-saver in the 87th, only to have defender Mike DeShields issued a straight red in the 89th for potty mouth. That forced Revs II to play stoppage time with only nine.

Mercifully, stoppage time did not fully reflect the second half’s six goals and eight substitutions.

Next match, standings, & playoffs.

Union II play away to New York City FC II Wednesday, August 24th at 6 pm. They now lie fourth in the Eastern conference table on 31 points, one place above the playoff line and one spot ahead of the junior Cityzens. They are second in the Northeast division.

The win improved their playoff chances, but Wednesday’s opponent NYC FC II are one point below them in the standings only one point out of the playoff picture.

Three Points
  1. Mustard. MLS NEXT Pro does not make available a full replay of any of its matches, so what follows is only unconfirmed memory. In the 37th minute just after New England went down to ten men, a Rev II attacker faced Matt Real for a head ball. He stayed on his feet making no attempt to play the ball and when the Union II center back had left his airborne, the Revs II man shoulder-charged him hard, knocking him badly off balance creating a meaningful possibility of serious injury when he fell. The play seemed made with malicious intent. When coach LeBlanc protested he was given a yellow card. An otherwise reasonably officiated game was marred by that sequence of poor officiating decisions.
  2. Defensive midfielder Jesus Bueno now leads Union II with six goals scored from ten shots on target (out of 23 shots in total).
  3. The difference in Union II’s first-half counter pressing and that of the second half tells a story. Jose Riasco is trying, but he has not yet learned the system the way Stefan Stojanovic has. Having the tenth field player on the same defensive page with the other nine was New England’s downfall. For those who are impatient with the young Venezuelan, recall that when Olivier Mbaizo arrived in Philadelphia from Cameroon all those years ago having not a single word of English (he is from the francophone portion of the former colony) it took him one full year before his head coach was willing to say to this writer that the language of instruction was no longer an obstacle to his understanding what was needed.

U II: (4-2-2-2 “empty bucket,” L-R) Matt Freese; Anton Sorenson, Matt Real, Brandan Craig, Nathan Harriel; Cole Turner (Frank Westfield 72′), Jesus Bueno (Boubacar Diallo 73′); Paxten Aaronson (Carlos Paternina 80′), Quinn Sullivan; Chris Donovan (Nelson Pierre 82′), Jose Riasco (Stefan Stojanovic HT). Unused substitutes: Brooks Thompson; Nathan Nkanji, Maike Villero, Juan Perdomo. Distribution: 1st – 10; 2nd – 8; Am – 2. Injury rehab: Gino Portella. USYMNT U17s: Bajung Darboe.

NE II: (4-1-4-1 L-R) Max Weinstein; Italo, Pierre Cayet (Jack Burkhardt 69′), Mike DeShields 89th, Colby Quinones; Trevor Zwetsloot; Meny Silva (Brandonn Bueno 69′), Michel Costa da Silva (Malcolm Fry 69′), Jake Rozhansky 36th, Ryan Lima (Steban Lopera 69′); Marcos Dias. Unused substitutes: Marzuq Puckerin; Hikaru Fujiwara, Weverton De Sousa Santos.


U II        54th minute        Matt Real

U II        61st minute        Jesus Bueno (Quinn Sullivan)

U II        63rd minute       Jesus Bueno (Cole Turner)

U II        67th minute        Nathan Harriel (Cole Turner)

U II        79th minute        Quinn Sullivan (Stefan Stojanovic)

NE II     87th minute        Colby Quinones (Italo)


U II        Yellow        20th minute        Jose Riasco (persistent infringement)

NE II     Yellow         30th minute        Jake Rozhansky (foul)

NE II     RED            36th minute        Jake Rozhansky (handball) (2nd Yellow)

NE II     Yellow        45+1 minute        Meny Silva (foul)

NE II     Yellow         64th minute       Michel (dissent)

U II        Yellow        77th minute         Brandan Craig (dissent)

U II        Yellow        78th minute        Boubacar Diallo (foul)

NE II     RED           89th minute         Mike DeShields (foul and abusive language)


Ref: Amiel Aleman, AR1: Patrick Slane, AR2: Eric Schreiber, 4TH: Sharon Gingrich



  NE II U II  



Possession % 45.7 4 Offsides



Shots 13 51 Duels won



Shots on goal 6 11 Tackles won



Blocked shots 2 4 Saves


371 Total passes 322 11 Clearances



Passing accuracy % 77 23 Fouls 12
9 Corners 7 3 Yellow cards



Crosses 8 0 Red cards



  1. Good insight, Tim. Thank you. I appreciate the reminder on Riasco and the language challenge. Patience.
    On Bueno, do you see him as as more of a 6 or 8 for the first team?

  2. I’ll disagree with your assessment on the ref being generally good. He did a REALLY poor job with the concept of the advantage rule. When Rozhansky tried to grab the ball leading to his second yellow, he did not successfully secure it and it appeared as the Union were going on a breakaway when the whistle blew. Then when the Silva yellow was given, the Union had possession and Sorenson was looking to push forward when we heard the whistle.
    I’m thinking the sub at halftime was just as much a precaution against a second yellow given how card happy the ref was.
    Also not mentioned was the torrential downpour in the first half which found me sitting high enough in the stands that I was reminded of 2020 when the stadium was at 15% capacity and no one was allowed in the first several rows.
    I’m curious as to the lineups for the next two games. Will they play as many of the first teamers knowing they will also need to be available on Saturday for the Union? And will they even be able to field a full team in Columbus Saturday knowing the game will be directly opposite a first team game in Chester. I’m thinking that Saturday is probably about 99% to be a loss.

    • I agree that the HT sub was precautionary. But to me Stojanovic anticipates much sooner and executes his pressing cues must faster, that was eyeball observation, and as I thought about it it meant the Revs midfield was uneder greater pressure faster.
      They will have enough bodies to field a team in Columbus. Unlike July 2 when they had only 11 by my guess. But they will get the bare minimum of first team help. Sorenson, of course. I would bet Turner and Bueno and no one else.
      I agree that Columbus should take three points on Saturday.
      I am guessing that Wednesday in NewvYork there will be lots of help, but that mids and attackers will be on restricted minutes,, 45-60.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        I’m guessing Jeremy Rafanello will be another option for Saturday’s game (and possibly Wednesday’s).

  3. Unless Rafanello has already been in camp, a proposition I rather doubt since his previous team has been actively playing its own league schedule, that is pushing him into action with almost no introduction.
    He might have been in YSC’s schoolhouse with some of the current field player homegrowns, but I doubt he ever played soccer with them in any organized way. Harriel the oldest of the five arrived after he had graduated.
    He may have played with Freese, Turner, and Real years ago.
    He may well go to Columbus as a reserve for emergencies off the bench. I seriously doubt he hs gone to New York for today.

    • My current guess is that the Rafanello signing says there are no 2005 midfielders likely to succeed Ian Abbey and Jack Jasinski as mainstays of Union II midfield depth.
      I am expecting the 2006s to use their remaining year of U17 eligibility with the U17s, aside from Darboe and Westfield.
      I have no idea what Zambrano’s status may be.

  4. Scattered available data points put the Union Developement Squad in the UPSL for the Season beginning in September. I expect most of the 2005s will populate that side. The organization will want that side to represent the organization respectably.
    UDS may be considered a U19s equivalent populated by Academy seniors most likely headed for NCAA careers as their next steps. It allows seniors to complete their academic and athletic educations together as part of the brotherhood of the academy.

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