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Union II stays unbeaten, take down RBNY2 in penalties



Photo by Jack Verdeur

Philadelphia Union II came into their MLS Next Pro match against New York Red Bulls II with an unbeaten record. And with the help of some first team players aiming to stay sharp last week against Atlanta United II, they were also coming off their biggest win of the season: a dominant 5-0 thrashing. 

However, RBNY2 was also coming into the match unbeaten, and they had an ace up their sleeve: 24-year-old Colombian first team defender Andres Reyes was in the starting XI, as New York was hoping to keep him match fit while he serves a suspension for picking up a red card in an MLS match against Chicago FC on April 13. With Reyes in the lineup, U2 forwards Eddy Davis III and Markus Anderson were left with quite the challenge in breaking down the RBNY2 backline. 

Early on, it looked like U2 may suffer their first defeat of the season. RBNY2 were often dangerous on the wings, and their backline with Reyes was organized and seemingly impenetrable. In the 14th minute, New York opened the scoring as a whiffed clearance from Jamir Berdecio allowed Steven Sserwadda to have a one-on-one opportunity with Andrew RIck, in which the attacker slotted home the first goal of the match. 

But as the first half wore on, U2 slowly began to grow into the game. And at the halftime whistle, they had outshot RBNY2 by a margin of 7 to 3. U2 carried the momentum into the second half, and in the 56th minute, Frankie Westfield slid a delicious low cross straight into the run of Eddy Davis III, who buried the equalizing goal. The goal was Davis’s fourth goal of the MLS Next Pro campaign, as the young forward has proven to be an intelligent runner off the ball as well as a clinical finisher. He has constantly put himself in dangerous positions in the attacking third, and his prolific goal tally is further evidence of that. 

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Just two minutes later, Davis nearly doubled his tally as he found himself on a rapid counter attack before he beat his defender and got a shot on goal that was saved by RBNY2 goalkeeper, Aidan Stokes. 

Then, besides a David Vazquez penalty shout that was overruled by a Sal Olivas offsides call, the remainder of the first 90 minutes was a relatively tame affair. When the final regulation whistle blew, it was time for U2’s third penalty shootout of the young MLS Next Pro season. 

In PK’s, U2 coolly slotted home each of their four efforts from the spot and Andrew Rick saved two RBNY2 penalties, including one miraculous (and perhaps a bit lucky) save with his heel. The shootout win means U2 will remain unbeaten in the league and they have also climbed their way to the top of the MLS Next Pro table. 

U2’s next chance to continue their good run of form will be next Sunday against Cincinnati 2.

Hunter is a writer/contributor for Philadelphia Soccer Now/Brotherly Game covering Union post-game analysis, MLS league-wide news and other stories from the world of footy. He has been covering the Union since 2021.

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