MLS NEXT Pro Match Report / Philadelphia Union II

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

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

After conceding a penalty kick in the tenth minute that was scored by Union II’s Stefan Stojanovic, New England Revolution II scored five unanswered goals to thrash the Boys in Blue for their second-worst defeat during their time in MLS Next Pro.

The matched turned on New England’s repeated ability to slice through Union II’s center backs and Philadelphia’s inability to finish the chances it developed.

In advance

New England’s shifting the game to Monday meant limited reinforcement to Union II from the first team and the U17s. The Union were expected to fly to Mexico on Monday and to take a full 23 player Concacaf complement. The Union Academy U17s won the GA Cup in Florida early Sunday evening, so that GA Cup champions goalkeeper Andrew Rick was on the U II bench says he caught an early-bird flight to Boston Monday morning from Tampa International. Rick, Richard Odada and Jeremy Rafanello were the only first teamers and 2006 birth years available beyond usual loanees Anton Sorenson and Nelson Pierre.

On Thursday, Union II head coach Marlon LeBlanc said that Revolution II is a fast, strong, physical side with meaningful new additions. Twelve players return from last season, with six being off-season promotions from their academy. The 17 players now on MLS NEXT Pro contracts include five new to the organization. Two played for Toronto FC II last season, one comes from Rochester, and two come from university. Their first team hosted Montreal Saturday and has no midweek game, so Revs II had Jack Panayotou and Esmir Bajraktarevic from the young players on the first team both of whom played major roles in the blowout.

First Half

Union II started brightly. generating a serious threat 50 seconds after tap that saw Nelson Pierre crash into the right post trying to finish a cross from Jose Riasco.

But the seventh minute saw a center-back-splitting through ball that broke New England striker Jordan Abedayo-Smith alone onto Philadelphia goalkeeper Brooks Thompson – who made an excellent save. The play anticipated the match’s future, in spite of Stojanovic’s PK three minutes later.

The equalizer from Damian Rivera saw Union II center back Hugo Le Guennec come off injured, shifting Francis Westfield from right back into the center as Noe Uwimana came on to play right fullback. The other tactical factor that may have contributed to Revolution II’s outburst was that Richard Odada may have been playing a single pivot in front of the CBs, although that detail in unconfirmed. It certainly seemed that Maike Villero was playing well in advance of Odada later in the match as Union II were trying to climb back into it.

All observers need to remember that starting lineups are set by the soccer technical staff, not Coach LeBlanc. This has been the case since Earnie Stewart arrived as Sporting Director back in mid-2015.  Clearly Westfield was preferred to Nathan Nkanji as a CB when Le Guennec went down – Westfield is definitely under scrutiny by the first team.

Union II center back Gino Portella suffered a facial injury late in the Orlando opener, played the Miami game in a mask, but then required corrective surgery. He is expected to return to training this week.

Second Half

New England’s early goals in the second half put paid to the idea of the match being anything other than developmental minutes for Union II players. Substitutions reflected that. Those substitutions did not produce a fall-off in effort or chances produced. Had Nkanji not clattered into New England’s Brandonn Bueno in the 89th minute in the box, Union II’s subs would have played New England’s to a 0-0 draw.

Next Match

Union II play away to Chicago Fire II Sunday evening April 16 at 7:00 p.m. with a live stream expected on The match comes the day after the Union plays Chicago in the Windy City.

Three Points
  1. GA Cup results: Sunday, for the first time in the GA Cup’s 15-year  history the same academy had both its teams in the finals. The U15s lost 7-6 on penalty kicks to Austin FC. The U17s kept a 1-0 clean sheet, playing three of Union II’s 2006 birth years the full 90 and bringing the fourth on as a halftime substitute
  2. Center backs: From the 24th minute when Hugo Le Guennec had to be replaced, until the 67th when Nathan Nkanji replaced Frank Westfield, Union II played two outside backs as their center backs. Westfield moved into the center next to Juan Castillo.
  3. Five goals surrendered matched last year’s high, and recalls the stretch of 2020 under Sven Gartung when giving up five or six goals per game was “normal.”
Box score

Union II lineup – 4-2-2-2 (L-R). Starters: Brooks Thompson; Anton Sorenson (Luke Martelli 67′), Juan Castillo, Hugo Le Guennec (Noe Uwimana 24′), Frank Westfield (Nathan Nkanji 67′); Richard Odada, Maike Villero (Boubacar Diallo 76′); Jeremy Rafanello, Stefan Stojanovic; Jose Riasco (Luciano Sanchez 67′), Nelson Pierre. Unused substitutes: Andrew Rick; Devon Stopek, Pedro Alvarez,  Anthony Ramirez. Injured: Gino Portella. 1st – 4; U II – 9; U17s – 7.

Starters’ Ages

Thompson Sorenson Castillo Le Guennec Westfield Odada
20.9 20.2 20.5 23.2 17.3 22.4
Villero Rafanello Stojanovic Riasco Pierre
22.2 23.0 22.1 19.2 18.0


NE Rev II Lineup – 4-3-3 (L-R). Starters: Nico Campuzano; Peyton Miller, Victor Souza, Pierre Cayet, Jacob Akanyirige; Esmir Bajraktarevic, Jack Panayotou (Brandonn Bueno 84′), Joshua Bolma (Jake Rozhansky 68′); Damian Rivera (Nakye Greenidge-Duncan 74′), Jordan Adebayo-Smith (Weverton de Souza Santos 70′), Malcolm Fry (Marcos Dias 68′). Unused substitutes: Maxwell Weinstein; Colby Quinones, Ben Awashie, Santiago Suarez.


U II      10th minute       Stefan Stojanovic (Pk)

NE II    21st minute      Damian Rivera (Peyton Miller)

NE II    29th minute      Jordan Adebayo-Smith (Jacob Akanyirige)

NE II     49th minute      Esmir Bajraktarevic

NE II     54th minute      Malcolm Fry (Damian Rivera)

NE II     89th minute      Brandonn Bueno (PK)


NE II    38th minute      Yellow      Pierre Cayet (dissent)

U II       40th minute      Yellow      Anton Sorenson (dissent)

U II       64th minute      Yellow      Jose Riasco (foul)

U II       69th minute      Yellow      Maike Villero (foul)

NE II     81st minute.     Yellow     Jack Panayotou (time-wasting)


NE II Statistic U II NE II Statistic U II
53.5 Possession % 46.5 1 Offsides 1
16 Shots 16 46 Duels won 38
4 Blocked shots 2 7 Tackles  won 9
9 Shots on goal 4 3 Saves 4
462 Total Passes 386 20 Clearances 6
86.2 Pass Accuracy % 81.9 10 Fouls 15
5 Corners 7 2 Yellow Cards 3
8 Crosses 15 0 Red Cards 0

Ref: Jose Carlos Rivero, AR1: Claudiu Badea, AR2: Eric Schreiber, 4th: Andrew Porada

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