After missing a number of quality chances against English Premier League team Everton FC on Wednesday night, the Philadelphia Union finally put one away in the 87th minute through U-18 midfielder Christian Hernandez to record a 1-0 victory.
Hernandez, who was recently named the U-17/18 Player of the Year of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, entered in the 71st minute and played well for his entire time in the match. That honor essentially recognized the young Mexican as the top youth player at his age level in the country, and he showed why against Everton.
The Players Development Academy midfielder was one of three high school-aged kids that were on the field when the Union scored their winning goal. Academy star Jimmy McLaughlin, who I interviewed here on the Brotherly Game recently, came into the game in the 78th minute and appeared to provide the spark needed to push for a winning goal. 16-year-old Homegrown signing Zach Pfeffer also participated, coming into the game in the 63rd minute. Pfeffer connected several impressive passes with his teammates and looked confident.
Despite facing many of Everton's top players such as Phil Neville, TIm Cahill, and Phil Jagielka, the Union were the better team for nearly all of the match, creating more chances and controlling more possession. In fact, it was Philadelphia who rested most of their starters; Danny Califf, Brian Carroll, Sebastien Le Toux, and Carlos Ruiz all sat out the entire match, while Juan Diego Gonzalez actually stepped onto the field at PPL for the first time in 2011.
The Union will now play another international friendly this Saturday when they take on Real Madrid at Lincoln Financial Field. They return to MLS action on Friday, July 29, when they host the Colorado Rapids at PPL Park.