A long-range shot from Dawson McCartney that the wind helped send over the head of the PA Classics goalkeeper was the difference in a 1-0 win for the U18 team on a windy Sunday afternoon in Manheim.
The goal came after PA Classics keeper Trevor Clemens had a couple tricky shots to deal with in the wind from a Union side that started the second half with a wave of attacks. Clemons recovered nicely from the goal with a couple key stops to keep the game close, including one on substitute Tiger Graham who got behind the defense with only the keeper to beat.
Second-half substitute Max Sakiewicz also hit the far post on a corner kick and Alexander Soto made a nice turn and shot in the box that crashed off the crossbar.
The Union's high press and defensive midfielder Joseph DeZart's play in the center of the field breaking up the PA Classics attack made chances hard to come by for the home team. When they did get through the midfield, the Union center back pairing of Shane Bradley and Rayshaun McGann (earning his second straight start up from the U16 team) did well to recover and prevent the final pass. Outside backs Matthew Real and Robert Campbell, aided by the wind at their backs, spent most of the second half on the PA Classics side of the pitch.
The starting XI for the Union on the day also included goalkeeper Andrew Verdi, midfielders Frederick Gil, McCartney, Soto, and Anthony Fontana and Jerren Nixon at forward. Conor Bradley, Raheem Taylor-Parkes, Sakiewicz, Graham, and Abu Winter came off the bench.
PA Classics started Clemons in goal, defenders Evan Collins, Miles Gerz, Liam Harmon, and Sean O'Hearn, midfielders John Eckenrode, Matthew Gillis, Braden Kline, Nicholas Sarver, and Matthew Trepanier and forward Robert Miller, who played with the Union U16 team last season. William Mobley put in a solid shift as a second half substitute and Kyle Richards and Aaron Robinson also came off the bench.
The Union were looking to avenge a 2-1 loss in Chester in the first meeting between the two teams in the fall, but were unable to break down a formidable PA Classics defense in a scoreless draw.
The Union started Isaiah Holquist, Evan Godfrey, Ben Ofeimu, and Brandon Golden across the back in front of goalkeeper CJ dos Santos, Seth Kuhn, Michael Pellegrino (up from the U14s), and Josue Monge in the midfield and Justin McMaster, Issa Rayyan, and Darius Lewis at forward.
Brenden Aaronson, Omar Ayala, Kurtis Orrson, Nykolas Sessock, and Kalil ElMedkhar all came off the bench in the second half.
Nicholas Blacklock scored in each half and Matthew Myers added a second half goal to lead the U14s to a 3-0 win over PA Classics in the late afternoon game Sunday.
Blacklock is now third on the team in goals with eight behind Michael McKeown (11) and Jason Aoyama (10). The goal was the second of the season for Myers.
The win is the fifth in the row for the U14s, the third straight shutout and stretches their unbeaten streak to eight games dating back to their last loss in October to New York Red Bulls.
The U14s take on NJCSA at YSC Sports on Saturday at 3 p.m. while the U16 and U18 teams play NJCSA the following day at the Training Grounds in Chester. The U18s play at 10 a.m. followed by the U16 team at noon.