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Union Academy teams drop points in GA Cup qualifying against New York Red Bulls

The U17s sit on five points with two games remaining but the U15s still hold the top spot with 9 points in regional qualifying

Union defender Cole Sotack tries to dribble past a Red Bulls defender in a GA Cup qualifier match on December 9, 2018
Matt Ralph

Clinical finishes on each side of halftime were the demise of the Philadelphia Union U17 team in a Generation adidas Cup qualifier against the New York Red Bulls in North Jersey on Sunday afternoon.

Coming off a busy and challenging trip to the Development Academy showcase in Florida that saw them lose their first league game of the season to FC Dallas on a 90th minute goal, the Union battled their division rival throughout in a rematch of a league game the Union won 4-1 at Talen Energy Stadium last month.

A well-taken volley midway through the first half for the Red Bulls enabled the team to sit back and defend on the smaller turf field at the team’s training facility in Hanover, N.J. while the visitors struggled to find a breakthrough.

One nearly came toward the end of the first half after some quality possession but Patrick Bohui’s close range attempt hit woodwork.

In the second half, the Union were able to draw a few free kicks from dangerous spots but were unable to convert. Pressing for an equalizer left the back line a little exposed and the Red Bulls took advantage with another quality finish from a tight angle to make it 2-0.

“We had a few good chances but I thought they defended really well,” head coach Gary Lewis said. “We had the ball from the 25th minute to the 90th with good quality but somehow couldn’t get through the block.”

Lewis said he was pleased with the overall performance of his team, which has suffered two of its three losses in all competitions this season in Generation adidas Cup qualifying. They will head to Atlanta in February to complete qualifying with must-win games against D.C. United and Atlanta United. The top two teams in the group qualifying for the Champions Division of the competition along with two additional wild cards.

The U15 team is in much better position to qualify for the top division of the inaugural U15 GA Cup finals after securing another point in a scoreless draw against the New York Red Bulls. Though they dropped a potential second point in the penalty shootout, they remain on top of Group C with a 2-0-2 record and nine points with D.C. United and Atlanta United left to play in February.

Both teams will resume DA league play on March 2 in Manheim against PA Classics.