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Philadelphia Union U16s fall to Tigres in GA Cup semifinal

Tigres got a goal in each half and kept the Union offense in check in the Premier Division semifinal on Thursday

Photo Gallery: GA Cup East Regionals
Nick Blacklock on the ball with Kevin Escobar behind him. Both players started for the Union on Thursday.
Matt Ralph

Miguel Rodríguez had a goal in each half and the Philadelphia Union offense couldn’t take advantage of a red card in a 2-0 loss to Tigres UANL in the Premier Division semifinal of the Generation adidas Cup at Toyota Stadium on Thursday.

The Union came out strong in the first half, as Axel Picazo and Brenden Aaronson nearly connected for a goal early. Chad Letts had another productive game with his hold-up play and skill on the ball, but it wasn’t enough to solve the Tigres defense.

Union goalkeeper Kris Shakes made a fine save early on and the defense weathered a few storms, but an unmarked Rodríguez delivered the first goal off a corner kick to put the Mexican club up 1-0 going into the break.

Rodríguez’s second just after the break proved to be too much for the Union to overcome, even after a video review resulted in a 53rd minute red card being shown to a Tigres player and the Union being up a man the final 17 minutes of play (matches are 70 minutes).

Letts combining with Aaronson - the duo have scored seven of the team’s nine goals in Frisco - nearly got the Union a much-needed breakthrough and substitute Iverson Brisma helped orchestrate a late push but the Union will have to settle for one final consolation match on Saturday before returning home from an otherwise successful trip.

Tigres will play New York City FC in the final at Toyota Stadium on Saturday night. The Union drew NYCFC 2-2 in qualifying and lost a penalty shootout at the Power Training Complex back in October.

Starting XI for the Union: Kris Shakes, Kevin Escobar, Michael Pellegrino, JD Wagner, Nykolas Sessock, Seth Kuhn, Julian Anderson, Brenden Aaronson, Nick Blacklock, Chad Letts and Axel Picazo. Substitutes: Marco Bla, Iverson Brisma, Aboubacar Camara and Carter Emack.

The GA Cup U12 competition also kicked off on Thursday. The Union picked up a 4-0 win over San Jose Earthquakes and played Villarreal to a scoreless draw. They play FC Dallas and Atlanta United tomorrow.