A second half goal off a turnover doomed the Philadelphia Union Academy U16 team in their first game in the LIGA Bancomer MX International Tournament on Thursday.
After a scoreless first half, LA Galaxy forward Kevin Negrete slotted home past a charging Tomas Romero to put the Galaxy in front after a costly give-away deep in the midfield.
Unlike their last meeting in December that produced seven goals and a 4-3 Galaxy win, Thursday’s match didn’t end with a flurry of goals. Instead, the Union were unable to break down the Galaxy defense - a Ben Ofeimu shot tipped over the bar very nearly equalized - and finished on the wrong end of a 1-0 score line.
Results will not be the emphasis on this trip though as several of the Union’s young players are put to the test in a grueling schedule that will only get harder with matches against Mexican clubs Pumas on Friday and Santos Laguna on Saturday. U.S. Soccer Development Academy champions FC Dallas lost 4-0 to Pachuca and San Jose Earthquakes lost 2-0 to Club Tijuana in MLS/LIGA MX matches on Thursday.
The Union’s lineup for Thursday’s opener was a mix of players from the U14, U15, U16 and U18 teams (starting defender Rayshaun McGann and forward Issa Rayyan played for both U16 and U18 teams last season).
Chad Letts, Brendan Aaronson, Michael Pellegrino, Nick Blacklock, Nykolas Sessock, Guei Marco Obed Bla, Benjamin Ofeimu, Seth Kuhn and Tomas Romero were also in the starting XI.
Carter Emack, Oluwaola-ayo Ogunwale, Iverson Brisma and newcomer James Simpson made appearances off the bench. Simpson spent last season with rival club Continental FC Delco.