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Philadelphia Union Academy starts second half of season strong

The U18, U16 and U14 teams combined to score 14 goals in three clean sheets against visiting Baltimore Armour on Saturday at YSC Sports.

Yosef Samuel attacking the Baltimore Armour defense with Max Sakiewicz to his right
Yosef Samuel attacking the Baltimore Armour defense with Max Sakiewicz to his right
Matt Ralph

Yosef Samuel marked his return from an extended look with the first team with a pair of goals and Raheem Taylor-Parkes ended his goal-scoring drought in an 8-0 win for the Philadelphia Union Academy U18 team over Baltimore Armour on Saturday in U.S. Development Academy play.

Jerren Nixon opened the scoring in the 14th minute with a strong turn and finish inside the box after a strong run forward by left back Frederick Gil and the U18s never really looked back from there.

Samuel scored his first goal from the penalty spot six minutes later after a Robert Campbell cross was handled in the box by a defender and then found the goal again after cleaning up a rebound with his head on a play he started with a lovely through ball to Max Sakiewicz. The two goals give Samuel five for the season after he scored a hat trick against Baltimore in the first meeting back in September.

Dawson McCartney and Abu Winter made it 5-0 before halftime with goals from the right side that beat the keeper to his far post. McCartney's second goal of the season was a left-footed curler and Winter's second of the season came off one of the few counter attack opportunities of the day for the Union.

Substitutes Anthony Fontana, playing his first game of the season with the U18s, and Raheem Taylor-Parkes continued the dominance in the second half. Taylor-Parkes put his goal-scoring drought to rest with his first of the season on a penalty kick after he was taken down in the box and it was only moments later that he carved the defense up again, this time tapping one past the keeper after using his pace and skill on the ball to make a strong run through several defenders.

The first game of the second half of the season marked the return of the Bradley brothers to the team after they won an independent school state championship with The Haverford School in the fall. Shane Bradley started at center back in the game and Conor Bradley came on as a substitute in the attack in the second half. Byron Josue Monge made his U18 team debut in the 60th minute with fellow U16 midfielder Fontana.

With the win, the U18s moved up to third in the Atlantic Division standings with 31 points through 16 games (9-3-4).

U16s

A brace from leading goal-scorer Justin McMaster was the difference in a 2-0 win over Baltimore Armour for the U16 team on Saturday.

McMaster's two goals bring the Jamaican's season haul to eight and his total since joining the Academy 20 in 34 games.

Carlos dos Santos, Rayshaun McGann (c), Evan Godfrey, Nykolas Sessock, Kevin Escobar, Omar Ayala, Kalil ElMedkhar, Kurtis Orrson, Brenden Aaronson, Issa Rayyan and Justin McMaster started the match. Daniel Bloyou, Carter Emack, Chad Letts, Patrick Murphy and Benjamin Ofeimu came on as substitutes.

The win moved them within three points of New York Red Bulls in second place in the Atlantic Division with a record of 10-3-3.

U14s

Nicholas Blacklock had a brace and Jason Aoyama and Obafemi Awodesu added goals to lead the U14 team to a 4-0 win over Baltimore Armour.

The starting XI included Ayoama, Daniel Bateman, Blacklock, Anthony Cousins, Michael McKeown, Michael Pellegrino, Kristopher Shakes, Tony Antek Sienkiel, Cole Turner, John Wagner and Donovan Wu. Awodesu, Kenyatta Collins, Brendan Hasson, Evan Lamarca, Matthew Myers and Maxwell Owens saw time off the bench.