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Union Academy teams dominate PA Classics in home opener

The U18, U16 and U14 teams all picked up their first wins on Saturday



The Philadelphia Union U18s (1-0-1) scored four goals in the first half and goalkeeper Kristopher Shakes recorded his second straight clean sheet to lift the Union to their first win of the 2016-17 season on Saturday.

The U18s came out dominating possession from the opening whistle and had a number of half chances before Issa Rayyan got free in the box and set up Kalil ElMedkhar for the finish in front of goal in the 23rd minute.

Rayyan got a goal of his own less than two minutes later when he headed home a deflection for his first of the year. The rout was on when Alex Soto found Manny Perez found Manny Perez at the top of the box and he fired it past the keeper in the 34th minute. Perez was taken down in the box just before halftime to set up an Anthony Fontana penalty kick.

Fontana, who hasn’t featured for the U18s since April and has been getting minutes with Bethlehem Steel FC, was sharp on the ball all day frustrating the PA Classics defense with spin moves and other cheeky moves through tight spaces.

Mark McKenzie and Matt Real, playing as outside backs, also put in dominant shifts spending most of their time on the offensive side of the ball. McKenzie had a left footed rocket hit off the far post and Real came close to scoring a goal when he headed a ball just wide. Soto also hit woodwork in the first half.

Shakes didn’t have a lot to do for long stretches of the game but did well to come way off his line and cut down a potential break in the first half and continued to impress when called upon.

Second half substitutes Tiger Graham and Darius Lewis added second half goals to make the final score line 6-0. The goal was Graham’s 21st in his Union Academy career.

Daniel Bloyou’s second of the season held up as the winner as goalkeeper Eoin Gawronski and the defense picked up the clean sheet in the U16 team’s first win of the season.

Bloyou scored in the 29th minute and Nicholas Blacklock and Carter Emack added goals two minutes apart late.

The start was the first for the U16 team (1-1-0) for Gawronski, who got the chance to start with Tomas Romero on the bench for Steel FC in their game down in Charleston, South Carolina.

The U14 team (1-1-0) won 4-1, according to Twitter, but a game report was not filed as of Monday afternoon.

The U13s made it two wins in two games with a 6-1 victory over PA Classics. Asher Laackman had a brace and Quinn Sullivan, Selmir Miscic, Jackson Debusschere and Micah Cain added goals.

Matthew Ralph is the managing editor of Philadelphia Soccer Now / Brotherly Game. He's covered soccer at all levels for many years in the Philadelphia region and has also written for, NPSL, PrepSoccer and other publications. He lives with his wife and two young children in Broomall, Pa., but grew up in South Jersey and is originally from Kansas.

Copyright © 2024 Philadelphia Soccer Now and Brotherly Game

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