A last gasp winning goal from the visitors gave Inter Miami II all three points at Subaru Park just minutes after Union II had equalized.
The Union had the opportunity to pick up their first win of the season after losing to Orlando City B last Sunday. The team missed a slew of players for the opening match thanks to the international break. Brandan Craig was back in the starting lineup for Union II, as he captained the side. Craig missed the season opener while on international duty with the U.S. Under-20 Men’s Youth National Team.
Inter Miami II came into the match having also lost their first MLS NEXT Pro match, falling at home to Chicago. Inter Miami is coached by a familiar face. Federico Higuain, who spent just under a decade in Major League Soccer, is now commanding the touchline for the South Florida side.
Union II controlled most of the opening possession, but it was the visitors who struck first. Miami got on the board in the 12th minute with a close range finish from Lucas Meek. Goalie Andrew Rick made a nice save on Union Academy grad Nykolas Sessock, but parried the initial Miami shot directly into the path of Meek, who finished into a gaping net.
Andrew Rick was forced to make two big saves in the 25th minute. Rick denied Lorenzo D’Agostini at the near post and caught Edison Azcona’s deflected shot on the ensuing corner. Just a minute later, Nelson Pierre found the back of the net for Union II off a Jose Riasco through ball, but the former was ruled offside.
Miami were the more efficient side in the first half, placing five of their six shots on target. Union II had five shots in the first half with just two on frame. Jose Riasco had the host’s best chance to level the score when he fired a shot from outside the box right into the hands of Miami’s goalie CJ dos Santos. The former Philadelphia Union Academy product took his team into the break up a goal.
Union II came out of the break with a point to prove. On the front foot, the blue and gold almost found the equalizer within the first 10 minutes. Juan Castillo crossed a ball into the box for Stefan Stojanovic, but he was leaning back and fired it over the bar. Minutes later, Jermey Rafanello’s 30-yard free kick was tipped onto the bar by dos Santos who then stopped the rebound shot from Portella on the doorstep.
Union II continued their search for the equalizer. Castillo’s long shot off a free kick sailed straight into the hands of dos Santos. Then, Francis Westfield found a loose ball in the box following another Union free kick, but his sliding shot found its way into the last few rows of the river end.
Andrew Rick wasn’t called into action much in the second half, but he pulled off a sublime save in the 83rd minute. Lucas Meek thought he had his brace but Rick flew to his left to punch a sure goal away.
Union II would finally find their goal. Substitute Luciano Sanchez latched onto Rafanello’s cross, heading it across the face of goal where Nelson Pierre smashed it into the roof of the net. After collecting an assist last week, Pierre grabs his first goal of the season and sixth career tally for Union II. Jeremy Rafanello, who got a secondary assist on the goal, looked bright for Union II.
The lead was short lived for Union II. It was the visitors who would have the last laugh. Not many goals come off free kicks from just inside the halfway line, but that is how Miami found the winner. Italo Addimandi got his head onto the lofted free kick which was then stabbed home by the right foot of Farid Sar-Sar. Captain Brandan Craig was visibly and vocally frustrated with his backline for conceding the late winner. Union II had one final chance, but a long throw-in resulted in a Miami clearance and the final whistle.
Union II will hit the road for a Monday matinee against New England Revolution II. Kickoff is at 1 PM at Gillette Stadium.
MIA – Lucas Meek 12’
PHI – Nelson Pierre (Sanchez) 87’
MIA – Farid Sar-Sar (Addimandi) 90’+4’
PHI – Juan Castillo (Caution) 34’
MIA – David Ruiz (Caution) 43’
PHI – Gino Portella (Caution) 51’
MIA – Joseph Convers (Caution) 73’
PHI – Jeremy Rafanello (Caution) 90’+4’
Philadelphia Union II Lineup:
Andrew Rick; Juan Castillo, Gino Potrella (Anthony Ramirez 90’+4’), Brandan Craig, Francis Westfield (Noe Uwimana 90’+4’), Richard Odada, Maike Villero (Luciano Sanchez 78’), Jeremy Rafanello, Stefan Stojanovic (Anton Sorenson 69’), Jose Riasco, Nelson Pierre
Substitutes not used: Brooks Thompson, Nathan Nkanji, Boubacar Diallo, Hugo Le Guennec, Pedro Alvarez
Inter Miami CF II Lineup:
CJ dos Santos; Israel Boatwright, Farid Sar-Sar, Tyler Hall, Nykolas Sessock, Joseph Convers, David Ruiz (Abel Caputo 80’), Lucas Meek (Italo Addimandi 90’+’2), Edison Azcona (Lawson Sunderland 73’), Dairon Reyes, Lorenzo D’Agostini
Substitutes not used: Pedro Faife, Cole Jensen, Gabriel Velez