Justin McMaster scored his first goals for the U18 team, and the defense held off a late push by the visitors to give the Philadelphia Union Academy U18 team a win over the New York Red Bulls Academy on Saturday afternoon in Chester.
The win put the U18s back into first place in the Atlantic Division with only one game left, and into the fourth spot for the U.S. Development Academy playoffs.
McMaster, who leads the U16 team in goals this season was 13, gave the Union the lead in the 19th minute when he punched home a perfectly placed cross by Dawson McCartney. Josue Monge started the sequence with a lovely diagonal ball to a streaking Dawson McCartney, who made the most of the room he had to run on the right wing.
The Union continued to dominate through much of the first half and survived a couple of scares by the Red Bulls just before the break.
After the break the pressure started to mount when Sean Teixeira, who will be playing locally at Villanova this fall, slid in with a hard challenge on Monge on the left sideline. Some pushing and shoving ensued, and yellows were shown to Teixeira and Kyle Perno. Monge's replacement, Issa Rayyan nearly set up another goal for the home team with a sharp run and pass from the endline, but the shot clanged off the post.
After another yellow was shown to Red Bulls defender Kevin O'Toole in the 57th minute, McMaster successfully doubled the lead in the 60th minute when he pounced on a mistake in the back.
With the Union fully in control, the match settled down and seemed to be in the bag for the home team approaching full time when the Red Bulls finally capitalized on a quick counter attack. Barry Sharifi slotted home his eighth of the season in the 90th minute, and one of the most dangerous offenses in the league came to life.
Defender Auston Trusty, making his first start for the U18 team since December, had a couple of key interventions to keep the Red Bulls off the board. After three minutes of nearly constant pressure, the Union managed some possession to kill off the remaining two minutes of stoppage time to secure the win.
The U16 team squandered a 1-0 lead and ended up losing 4-2 after surrendering four unanswered goals to the Red Bulls on Saturday.
Daniel Bloyou opened the scoring in the 19th minute with his fifth of the season, but Giuseppe Margiottiello fired home the equalizer 10 minutes later. Omir Fernandez's 17th goal of the season put the visitors in the lead in the 52nd minute, and Benjamin Mines and another from Margiottiello put the game out of reach.
Kalil ElMedkhar pulled one back for the home team in the 70th minute - his seventh of the season - but it was too little too late, especially with the Union playing a man down after Benjamin Ofeimu was sent off with a second yellow in the 77th minute.
The U16s dropped to three points behind the Red Bulls in second place in the Atlantic Division but are still in playoff position with one game left against D.C. United on June 4.
Nicholas Blacklock scored his 15th goal of the season in the 53rd minute and Kristopher Shakes picked up the clean sheet in a 1-0 win for the U14s over Red Bulls in North Jersey on Saturday.
The win was the 11th in a row for the U14s and avenged their only loss of the season to the Red Bulls back at home last October. Their season record improved to 16-1-3 with a road match at Prince William Courage this Saturday and a home match against D.C. United on June 4 remaining.
The U15 team beat Bethesda Olney 2-0 on goals by Liam O'Brien and Tanner Dail; the U13s got a goal from Aboubacar Camara but lost 3-1 to the Red Bulls and the U12 team beat Continental FC 6-3 on a hat trick from Mateo Infante and goals from Ashe Laackman, Sean Bettenhausen and Jackson Debusschere.