The Philadelphia Union Academy U18 team continued their strong 2016 with a 4-0 win over Empire United in West Henrietta, New York, on Saturday to post their fifth-straight clean sheet and win.
Reserve goalkeeper Justin Bajek got the start and added to first choice keeper Andrew Verdi's four-game scoreless streak. The last goal conceded by the U18 team came in a 1-1 draw with FC Dallas on December 8.
Outside back/winger Frederick Gil scored two goals seven minutes apart in the first half and Alexander Soto added one more before halftime to put the Union in command. Reserve forward Raheem Taylor-Parkes added a goal in the 77th minute, his fourth of 2016.
With the win, the U18s improved their record to 13-3-4 and remain in second place in the Atlantic Division standings behind New York Red Bulls, which with two games in hand have more points per game than the Union. Red Bulls beat FC Boston Bolts 6-1 on Saturday.
The U16s got back in the win column after two straight draws with an emphatic 5-0 win over Empire United.
Justin McMaster scored the winner in the 10th minute and added two second half goals to complete the second hat trick of his Academy career (the first came last may against PDA). His 13 goals lead the team and he now has 25 in two seasons.
Darius Lewis added his sixth of the season on a penalty kick in the 36th minute and Michael Pellegrino, playing up from the U14 team, scored his first U16 goal in the 78th minute. Pellegrino has five goals with the U14s this season.
Reserve goalkeeper Tomas Romero picked up the clean sheet. Regular keeper CJ dos Santos was on the bench for the U18 game.
With the win, the U14s kept pace with first place New York Red Bulls, which beat FC Boston Bolts 2-0 on Saturday. The Union (12-3-5) are two points behind the Red Bulls in the Atlantic Division standings, but have played two more games.
Michael McKeown and Jason Aoyama continued their assault on opposing defenses to each register braces in the U14s 7-3 win over Bethesda-Olney at YSC Sports on Saturday.
McKeown leads the team with 13 goals and Aoyama has 12. Obafemi Awodesu and Nicholas Blacklock added goals in Saturday's win.
The U14s host Cedar Stars Academy on Saturday, April 23, at 3 p.m. while the rest of the Academy and Pre-Academy teams travel to Boyds, Maryland, to take on Bethesda-Olney. The U18s play at 2:30 p.m. followed by the U16 game at 4:30 p.m. The U13 team plays at 3:30 p.m. and the U15s play at 5:30 p.m. in Northeast Pre-Academy League play.