Andrew Verdi came up with a huge second half save on a penalty kick that preserved a 1-1 draw in the Philadelphia Union Academy U18 team's regular season finale on Saturday at YSC Sports.
The goalkeeper heading to the University of the Michigan dove to his right and parried the ball over the bar to keep D.C. United from taking the lead. Gerson Umana took the spot kick after Conor Bradley was whistled for a hand ball in the box.
The Union opened the scoring just eight minutes in when Manny Perez marked his return to the team with his fourth goal of the season in his first start since December. D.C.'s Nicolas Brown found an equalizer when he headed home a corner kick from Grant Robinson in the 26th minute. Brown, a speedy winger, had created a number of chances prior to the goal, forcing the Union into some last ditch defending.
Justin McMaster had a great opportunity to put the Union back on top before halftime when he broke free and fought off a couple of United defenders to get a shot on goal, but his toe poke went wide of the post.
The second half was a defensive battle between the evenly matched teams that nearly turned when a cross from the left wing clipped Bradley's arm in what appeared to be a harsh penalty call.
With the draw, the U18s fell short of winning the Atlantic Division, finishing one point behind rivals New York Red Bulls after they smoked Baltimore Armour 10-1. They finished the season 17-3-6 and are the No. 8 seed for the playoffs, which begin with the group stage on June 22 in Frisco, Texas. The draw for the playoffs is tomorrow.
The U16 team suffered its largest loss ever, conceding five times to D.C. United in a 5-0 loss.
Former Union Academy forward Colin Brezniak and Sandor Bustamante both had braces and Michael Edwards added a goal for the visitors. Brezniak, who had 21 goals over two seasons with the Union, finished the regular season with 14 goals for United.
With the loss, the team ends the regular season at 15-5-6 in second place in the Atlantic Division and a 12 seeded in the playoffs, which begin with the group stage June 22 in Frisco, Texas. The draw will be held tomorrow.
Michael McKeown scored in the 12th and 43rd minutes to lead the U14s to a 2-0 win over D.C. United.
The goals give McKeown 16 for the season, tying him with Jason Aoyama and Nicholas Blacklock for the team lead.
The win was the 18th of the season for the team, which heads to Frisco, Texas for a showcase to end the season from June 20-23.
The U13 and U15 teams both picked up wins 7-1 for the U13s and 1-0 for the U15s - against D.C. United. Both teams end their regular season on June 11 with games against PA Classics at YSC Sports. The U13s play Cedar Stars Academy at 12:15 p.m. and U15s play at 2:15 p.m.