Match Reports / Union II

Match report: New England Revolution II 1 – 2 Philadelphia Union II

Photo @PhilaUnionII

A blistering first 20 minutes of Union II pressure at Southern New Hampshire University’s artificial turf field in Hooksett, NH rocked New England Revolution II onto their heels  and created a two goal lead that hosts did not manage to overcome even though they scored in the first two minutes of the second half to make it a one goal nail biter.

In the 12th minute a Union II corner taken short resulted in a CJ Olney cross into the box towards Frank Westfield that was misjudged by Revs II lright back Damario MacIntosh and headed backwards beautifully into New England’s  own net. Seven minutes later, Westfield fed Cavan Sullivan in that same left channel and the teenager slalomed three defenders before delivering a crisp strike to the back of that net for the match winner.

Union II remains in first place in the eastern conference on 35 points with 12 games to play, four points ahead of second place Cincinnati who have a game in hand. They remain one point behind St Louis and North Texas in the west who are tied for the league lead.

In advance

The match occurred simultaneously with the first team’s against New York Red Bull in Chester. It was physically impossible to dress for one and play in the other. The first team was playing on three days’ rest and so needed a deep bench, but Union II regulars Olwethu Makhanya, Sanders Ngabo, David Vazquez, and Cavan Sullivan started. There seems not to have been a second-team emergency goalkeeper.

New England’s first team did not have as tight a schedule-imposed restriction on roster interchange as did Philadelphia. Roster interchangeability is less heavily emphasized up north. Coach Richie Williams’ side most recently lost to Union II competitor FC Cincinnati 2 1-0. He is developing a comparatively new group this season, having graduated some key pieces from last year to his first team.

Before the match Revs II lay 12th in MLS NEXT Pro’s Eastern conference on 16 points, while Union II was first on double that number.

First half

Philadelphia dominated the match from the get go, controlling the midfield and scoring twice in the first 20 minutes. Two teenage midfields faced each other, but Union II’s was superior at the match’s beginning. The back line’s early involvement was to step up and intercept New England’s attempts to deliver medium range passes on the ground to its forwards.

Union II forwards received a steady diet of long service on opposite channel diagonals, where Eddy Davis III showed a pace advantage over New England’s center backs, but little came of it on the night to the New England defense’s credit.

The first twenty minutes telegraphed what a midfield of Sullivan, Olney, Vazquez and Ngabo might look like in the future. But the effort could not be sustained at the same level for the final seventy minutes. Olney and Vazquez played the full 90 while the other two came off after 60. They did not sustain what can be assumed to be the pace of play of first-team practices.

After the first 20 minutes, Union II’s sharpness reduced both defensively and offensively and New England began to respond to the challenge, the hosts beginning to have more offensive thrusts.

At the end of the half two consecutive attacks down their left channel by Gevork Diorbian found their left wing unmarked, his marker caught out of position upfield. Neither thrust succeeded in producing a goal, but they were clear warnings of what happened right after halftime.

Second Half

Neither team subbed at the break.

New England came out hot, and after two minutes they had scored. Patrick Leal poked it home from a confused attempt to clear that had disorganized Union II’s back line. Marlon LeBlanc’s troops heeded the wake-up call and restored some of the defensive sharpness that had characterized the first half of the first half.

But the fundamental characteristic of most of the second half was an even match of exchanged thrusts moving back and forth. New England was no longer dominated but was playing Union II evenly.

LeBlanc subbed at the 61st minute for Sullivan and Ngabo with Randy Meneses at Ngabo’s single six and Pariano on the midfield flank with Vazquez moving to attacking mid for Sullivan. Pariano was unfortunate not to score on a well time run out the midfield in the 67th.

As Revs II coach Richie Williams brought on two sets of subs, the fresh legs and the desperation of chasing the game  began to create more New England chances. Goal Keeper Mike Sheridan began to have work to do. There was a genuinely close call in stoppage time. But the lead managed to survive as Philly swept three in a row from New England and gave the northern youngsters their fifth defeat in their last six.

Cavan Sullivan

Unsurprisingly given all the hype surrounding him, Cavan Sullivan was declared man of the match. The 14-year-old started his fourth professional game and scored his first professional goal which turned out to be the match winner. He played 61 minutes. We speculate that he did not play a full 90 because the Union play Chattanooga FC in five days. Chattanooga was in third place in the East prior to play this weekend, so coach LeBlanc probably wants to preserve him for the challenge.

Sullivan became the youngest goal scorer in MLS NEXT Pro’s three year history.

Next match

Union II next plays Thursday, July 11 at 6 PM in Chester at Subaru Park against new-to-MLS-NEXT-Pro independent side Chattanooga FC. Chattanooga lies 4th in the eastern conference table behind Philadelphia, Cincinnati, and Chicago.

Three points + 1
  1. The day before matchday, Union II announced that Frank Westfield has been signed to a Union II professional contract. No details of the deal were released as has been standard for most past Union II signings.
  2. The husbanding of Ngabo’s minutes suggests he may have suffered a minor injury and is being worked back towards full condition. Alternatively, Randy Meneses has shown himself a competent replacement as a single six in MLS NEXT Pro and will need a decision on his loan status by the end of the season.
  3. There was apparently no second goal-keeper on the bench, raising the question of Holden Trent’s location.
  4. For whatever PSP’s opinion may be worth, referee Melinda Homa has called a good match both times we have seen her.



Union II: (4-1-2-1-2, L-R) 1st – 6, U II – 8, Am – 5.

Starters: Mike Sheridan; Frank Westfield, Olwethu Makhanya, Neil Pierre, Jamir Berdecio (Gavin Wetzel 90′); Sanders Ngabo (Randy Meneses 61′); CJ Olney, David Vazquez; Cavan Sullivan (Nick Pariano 61′); Eddy Davis III (Carlos Rojas 90′) , Leandro Soria (Kyle Tucker 83′). Starters’ Average Age = 19.0

Sheridan Westfield Makhanya Pierre Berdecio Ngabo
22.9 18.6 20.2 16.7 21.9 20.0
Olney Vazquez C Sullivan Davis III Soria
17.6 18.4 14.8 18.1 19.7

Unused substitutes: Alex Perez, Kellan LeBlanc, Jamir Johnson.

Revs II: (4-3-3, L-R)

Starters: JD Gunn, Moshtaba Al-Hasnawi, Tiago, Giovanni Calderon, Damario McIntosh (Alexandru Parvu 72’) , Patrick Leal, Olger Escobar (Joshua Bolma 72’), Eric Klein, Malcolm Fry, Gevork Diarbian (Andrej Bjelajac 87’), Alex Monis.

Substitutes not used: Liam Butts, Max Weinstein, Bradonn Bueno, Colby Quiñónes, Sage Kinner, Robert Nichols.


Union II          12th minute          Damario MacIntosh (OG)

Union II          18th minute           Cavan Sullivan (Frank Westfield)

Revs II             47th minute.          Patrick Leal (unassisted)

Yellow Cards

Union II          29th minute           Neil Pierre (foul)

Revs II            37th minute.          Olger Escobar (foul)

Revs II            66th minutes.        Alex Monis (foul)

Revs II             90+4th minute     A. Parvu

Rev 2 Statistic U II Rev 2 Statistic U II
8 Shots 14 3 Offsides 3
1 Shots on goal 7 6 Goalkeeper Saves 1
5 Blocked shots 2 6 Clearances 4
543 Total Passes 327
79.6 Pass Accuracy % 69.1 14 Fouls 9
1 Corners 9 3 Yellow Cards 1
7 Total Crosses 10 0 Red Cards 0
Whistle & Flags

Ref: Melinda Homa, AR1: Colin Ashley, AR2: Jennifer Dumaine, 4TH: Kyle Averill.

First-team postscript

 Saturday morning in the Inquirer Jonathan Tannenwald published that the early announcement of Jack McGlynn and Nathan Harriel making the final 18 of the U. S. Olympic team was made so the pair could be acknowledged in some way before they left. PSP did not investigate every name that was in camp for the Japan preparative friendly in June. But a small random selection found no other such announcement from Columbus, Nashville, Red Bull, or Atlanta all of whom are expected to send players to Paris.

If we indulge in wild and irresponsible speculation, why did only Philadelphia want to make an early announcement? Do they know that Saturday’s Red Bull match is McGlynn’s last in a Union shirt? That is only one possible explanation of the facts at hand.

One Comment

  1. HopkinsMD says:

    “… why did only Philadelphia want to make an early announcement? Do they know that Saturday’s Red Bull match is McGlynn’s last in a Union shirt? That is only one possible explanation of the facts at hand.”
    Interesting speculation. A more jaded take: it was positive news the club could share to break up the negative news/commentary cycle tied to their current run of form.

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