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Philadelphia Union U15s beat New England to advance to MLS Next Cup final

Bajung Darboe’s first half brace was enough to put the Union one win away from a trophy



For the first time in Philadelphia Union Academy history, a team will have a chance to cap a season with a trophy.

Bajung Darboe played with his age group for the first time this season and scored a spectacular first half brace and the back line anchored by center backs Gavin Wetzel and Daniel Krueger in front of goalkeeper Andrew Rick kept the Revs in check for the 2-0 win.

New England, coached by former MLS vet Shalrie Joseph, came out on the front foot and looked the more likely side to open the scoring but the Union had the first clear chance through Gael Medrano, whose shot on frame was denied by a solid save from Revs keeper Ryan Carney.

Darboe opened the scoring with a masterful free kick after Medrano drew a foul in a dangerous spot and Henry Bernstein nearly doubled the lead with a volley attempt off a clever flick but it was Darboe again from the run of play with a move in the box to shake his defender and fire a left-footed strike that made it 2-0.

Playing with the two-goal advantage, the Union back line, which probably doesn’t get enough credit because of their attacking prowess this season, held firm to book a spot in Friday night’s final at Toyota Stadium where they’ll take on the winner of Real Salt Lake and San Jose Earthquakes.

A win Friday would be a fourth youth trophy for the club. They won a 2012 Generation adidas Cup title when Jim Curtin coached a team of local club all-stars, a 2018 U13 Concacaf Champions League title captured by a Phil Karn-coached squad and the 2019 U12 Generation adidas Cup with a squad coached by Kleberson.

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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