A strong start gave way to a questionable penalty and a flurry of goals from Atlanta United, as the Philadelphia Union Academy U16 team dropped their first Generation adidas Cup qualifier by a final score of 4-1 on Friday afternoon.
The U16s looked great at the start, forcing the issue and taking an early lead on a perfectly struck left-footed free kick by Seth Kuhn in the 15th minute.
But all the momentum the Union had in front of their home crowd at Power Training Complex - and a loud bunch of players from the U18 team - vanished when Nykolas Sessock was whistled for a questionable foul in the box on Zayen Jones.
Will Crain converted the penalty to level the score and Atlanta United took off from there, seemingly turning every chance into something special.
Saul Tinoco scored the eventual game-winner before halftime and added a second goal in the latter part of the second half before Jackson Conway scored seconds after coming on as a sub with a shot from midfield that caught Union keeper Tomas Romero off his line.
Already down three goals with precious seconds ticking off the clock, Aziz Saidi was shown red for a late challenge and the Union were unable to finish their chances or get that final ball needed to break open the Atlanta back line.
With the three-goal loss, the U16s face an uphill battle in the first of two qualifying rounds, but don’t have much time to dwell on it as they play again tomorrow at 4 p.m. against New England Revolution.
Alejandro Pereira pounced on a loose ball after an initial save was made by D.C. United goalkeeper Nicholas Gerlach to give Orlando City a second half lead they never relinquished in the first game of the East regional for the Generation adidas Cup at Power Training Complex in Chester on Friday.
Orlando City took the lead inside 15 minutes when Jacob Garzon collected a rebound at the top of the boxed and chipped the ball over Gerlach and into the back of the net. Like on the winner, Gerlach did well to parry away the first shot with an diving save.
D.C. United controlled possession for much of the first half but Orlando City keeper Aaron Smith twice turned away would-be goals with fine saves and denied what would have been a game-tying goal late off the foot of Bryce Orsini, who created fits for the City defense with his weaving runs and tied the game when he beat Smith to the far post.
With the score tied, Orlando started pushing the issue and had its best period of possession before the goal again gave them the upper hand. Even without the bulk of the possession, Orlando was dangerous all afternoon on the counter and nearly opened the scoring even earlier on a couple plays that resulted in penalty appeals from those wearing purple on the field and on the sidelines.
New York Red Bulls 2 New England Revolution 0
The New York Red Bulls kept pace with Orlando City and Atlanta United with a 2-0 win over New England Revolution in the final game at Power Training Complex in Chester on Friday.
The Red Bulls got on the board in the first half when a ball deflected off a New England defender and into the net and nearly doubled the lead before the break on a Scott Taylor breakaway but Revolution goalkeeper Patrick Quinn came up with a big save to keep New England in it going into halftime.
The Red Bulls added an insurance goal in the second half to move to second place on goal differential (+2) behind Atlanta United (+3) and ahead of Orlando City (+1). The Red Bulls get two days off before playing Atlanta United at 2 p.m. Monday.