Union II

Match Report: New York Red Bull II 1 – 5 Philadelphia Union II

Photo courtesy Philadelphia Union II Communications

Late Sunday afternoon at Montclair State University soccer park, Philadelphia Union II emphatically defeated rival New York Red Bull II 5-1 behind braces from attacking midfielder David Vazquez and striker Markus Anderson. Three of Union II’s five goals arrived in the game’s last 13 minutes.

Team-leading scorer Edward Davis III opened with a tap-in off a feed from overlapping left back Frank Westfield in the 10th minute.

Both Vazquez and Anderson opened their accounts for the season with their matching double deposits. Anderson’s were his first goals as a professional in North America.

New York striker Mohammed Sofo closed the scoreline to 2-1 in the 67th minute after a lackadaisical attempt by Westfield to let a long pass trickle over the end line. Red Bull midfielder Ibrahim Kasule hustled to keep the ball alive, leading to ten minutes of hope for the hosts.

But the challenge stimulated Union II to score three times in final thirteen minutes to transform uncertainty into decisiveness.

In advance

Union II played in Montclair, New Jersey 22 ½ hours after the Union itself drew Charlotte in North Carolina’s Queen City  0-0. Andrew Rick both sat the first team bench Saturday night and played for Union II late Sunday afternoon. Other first team reserves playing down were Anderson, left center back Olwethu Makhanya, right back Jamir Berdecio, defensive midfielder Sanders Ngabo, Vazquez, and Cavan Sullivan who played as a striker. Although the Union Academy U17s did not play at the weekend, no one else besides Sullivan made the trip.

Red Bull II’s first team had no game over the weekend and plays next on Wednesday at midweek, so first team reserves could “play down” for developmental game minutes. But that approach is less prominent in Red Bull’s player development philosophy than in the Union’s.

The match pitted 1st place against 4th place separated by only three points. Union II’s overall record at Montclair State University Soccer Park was 3-6-0 before tap. But in the last five matches total between the rivals, Union II has won four and tied the fifth.

First half

Two high pressure “energy drink soccer” sides started the match at their highest possible paces for the first fifteen minutes. Philadelphia had the better of play from the start, but New York had one or two dangerous counter thrusts.

Westfield judged his overlap opportunity correctly in the 10th, collecting a feed from CJ Olney — who had two assists on the day. He delivered just inside the penalty spot to Eddie Davis who was unmarked as the second runner, deeper than fellow striker Leandro Soria who was well inside the six. Davis had an easy pass in.

Giovanny Sequera suffered a foul from Christian Ofori in the 16th and the injury delay began a slower pace for the rest of the match. It was still energy drinks soccer, but less frenetically so. Sequera could not continue past the 23rd and was replaced by Kyle Tucker. Tucker intelligently recognized that he needed to play more defensively than the injured Venezuelan had done because he lacks the same ground coverage pace.

Tucker quickly served a restart to Vazquez in the 43rd minute catching Red Bull II in mid-complaint against the foul, and the attacking mid rifled a scorcher to the far post past the inattentive New Yorkers. The next Red Bull II film session will be uncomfortable during that footage segment.

Second half

Neither coach changed personnel at halftime.

Union II stayed on the front foot with three meaningful chances in the first six minutes of the second half. But then Westfield misjudged Kasule’s hustle, proving once again that 2-0 is the most dangerous lead in the sport.

But in the 77th single six Ngabo seized the ball and drove through the central channel into the offensive third  where he found Olney on the left outside the box. The academy junior chipped over the coverage to find Anderson for an unstoppable diving header that restored Union II’s lead.

In the 80th a New York attack had Union II’s defense exposed. But Ngabo flashed across the box to intercept a shot that had likely beaten keeper Rick. From that point the heart drained from New York. With a ground-hugging free kick to the far post in the 82nd, first Vazquez, and off a feed from Ngabo in the 88th, then Anderson screwed New York’s coffin shut and buried it under six feet of dirt.

With the win, Philly retains first place in the league as well as the Eastern conference, one point ahead of the east’s Chattanooga and the west’s North Texas.

Next match

Union II  will play next Sunday, June 2, returning home to play Columbus Crew 2 at 6 PM on Subaru Park’s grass. The match is listed to stream on MLSNEXTPro.com and therefore perhaps on YouTube.

Three points
  1. Sanders Ngabo remains crucial to Union II’s success. The central channel defensive triangle of him, Makhanya and Neil Pierre continues to impress.
  2. Cavan Sullivan came on as a striker for the last 28 minutes . His  defensive pressure when playing there was correctly intended but often did not arrive quickly and intensely enough. No doubt its speed will improve as he practices daily with the first team.
  3. The Academy U17s have qualified as one of the 32 teams in the MLS NEXT Cup championship bracket. We expect that right center back Neil Pierre and Cavan Sullivan will be away from Union II for the duration. Philadelphia’s opponents are not yet known. The tournament begins June 15 and the championship match would be on June 23 should the U17s advance to it.



Union II: (4-1-2-1-2 narrow diamond, L-R)

Starters: Andrew Rick; Frank Westfield, Olwethu Makhanya, Neil Pierre, Jamir Berdecio (Gavin Wetzel 83‘); Sanders Ngabo; CJ Olney, Giovanny Sequera (Kyle Tucker 23‘), (Carlos Rojas 83‘); David Vazquez; Leandro Soria (Cavan Sullivan 63’), Edward Davis III (Markus Anderson.63‘).

Rick Westfield Makhanya Pierre Berdecio Ngabo
18.3 18.4 20.1 16.6 21.8 19.9
Olney Sequera Vazquez Soria Davis III
17.4 18.3 18.2 19.6 17.9

Starters’ average age = 18.8  (Nine teenagers)

Unused substitutes: Mike Sheridan; Alex Perez, Ryan Zellefrow,

Red BuII II: (4-4-2, L-R)

Starters: Aidan Stokes; Curtis Ofori, Aidan O’Connor, Davi Alexandre, Juan Gutierrez; Rafael Mosquera (Frank Ssebufu 63‘), Bento Estrela (Aidan Jarvis 68‘), Steven Sserwadda (Malik Dembele 83‘), Ibrahim Kasule; Mohammed Sofo, Julian Hall.

Unused Substitutes: Dallas Odla; Adri Mehmeti, , Jeffrey Bryjak, Jair Collahuazo, ???? Colę.


Union II        10th minute          Edward Davis III (Frank Westfield, CJ Olney)

Union II        51st minute           David Vazquez (Kyle Tucker)

Red Bull II    68th minute         Mohammed Sofo Frank Ssebufu)

Union II        77th minute.         Markus Anderson (CJ Olney)

Union II        82nd minute          David Vazquez (free kick)

Union II        88th minute          Markus Anderson (Sanders Ngabo)

Yellow Cards

Red Bull II    16th minute.         Curtis Ofori (foul)

Red Bull II     49th minute         Steven Sserwadda (foul)

Union II         80th minute         Jamir Berdecio (foul)

RBII Statistic U II RBII Statistic U II
6 Shots 17 3 Offsides 2
2 Shots on goal 10 5 Goalkeeper Saves 1
0 Blocked shots 4 11 Clearances 11
287 Total Passes 226
73.5 Pass Accuracy % 70.3 19 Fouls 20
4 Corners 4 2 Yellow Cards 1
4 Total Crosses 6 0 Red Cards 0
Whistle & Flags

Ref: Jalen Gray, AR1: Alexandru Focea, AR2: Joseph Knoff, 4TH: Hao Zhong.


  1. John P. O'Donnell says:

    Very dominate game for the baby snakes. Anderson looked very physical on the ball and very quick. Fun game to watch and Pierre looks like he’ll be the next to make the academy some money.

  2. Tim Jones says:

    5-1 is Union II/Bethlehem Steel’s largest margin of victory over NY Red Bull II.
    In 2018 they won 3-0.

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