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GA Cup: Philadelphia Union U15s top group after first leg of qualifiers

The Union tied Orlando City 2-2 on Monday behind goals from Sam Jones and Quinn Sullivan and picked up another point with a PK shootout victory

The Union U15 team celebrates a PK shootout victory over Orlando City in the GA Cup regionals on October 8, 2018
Matt Ralph

After shutting out their two first opponents, the Philadelphia Union U15s had to battle back to earn two points in their final game of the first leg of qualifiers for the Generation adidas Cup on Monday.

The Union took the lead early on a corner kick from Brandan Craig that found the head of Sam Jones, a newcomer to the academy. Minutes later Craig had a chance to double the lead from the penalty spot but his kick was saved by the Orlando City keeper.

The Lions responded with a pair of unanswered goals to take the lead, but the Union were able to draw level after a soft foul on Nelson Pierre was whistled in the box. Quinn Sullivan stepped up to the spot and calmly finished to his left as the Orlando keeper dove right.

Union goalkeeper Owen Moore, who had clean sheets in the team’s 5-0 win over NYCFC on Friday and 2-0 win over New England Revolution on Saturday, came up with a stop in the penalty shootout in the fourth round and after a miss for the Union watched as Orlando’s fifth attempt hit the crossbar and bounced out to give the Union the extra point in the standings with the 4-3 penalty shootout victory.

“I love being on the spot, if the pressure’s on I feel like I thrive,” said Moore, who wore the captain’s armband for the game. “I know my team has confidence in me and I have confidence in myself because of the work we do in training so I just commit and if they go that way I get it.”

Now halfway through qualifying, the Union U15s top the east regional standings with eight points. The top team in each group advances to the finals of the competition in Texas in the spring.

“They had two really good performances and then had a day to sit on it and now I don’t think they played poorly or came out with the wrong mindset but it’s hard to then say you’re going to have to dig to win today a third game in a row,” head coach Chris Brewer said. “It was a fair result. I was pleased for them to fight back, especially when we were down and getting eight points out of the nine I’m about as happy as you can be and pleased with our overall style of play.”

The Union will next travel to North Jersey to play New York Red Bulls on December 9 and will finish out group play in Atlanta against Atlanta United and D.C. United in February. They return to league play, where they are 3-0-1 at local rival Continental FC on October 20th.