A Generation adidas Cup campaign that started with so much promise during qualifiers held in Chester in October ended in Atlanta last weekend for the Philadelphia Union U17 team with two frustrating losses to D.C. United and New York City FC.
Against D.C. United, the Union went down in the first half and fought back to get an equalizer from Jason Aoyama, only to concede the lead right back. A third goal in the second half gave D.C. the 3-1 win.
After a tough film session that night, head coach Gary Lewis said the team responded well and were “excellent” two days later against New York City FC for an hour and created a couple of good chances but had little to show for it in the end with a 3-0 loss.
“We were good, our intentions were right, the style of play was good, everything was right, the boys gave absolutely everything,” Lewis said. “It’s just in those moments in the big games in the big competitions against top players that’s the difference.”
The team finished regional qualifying with a 2-2-2 record and 9 points (they picked up an extra point with a PK shootout win over Orlando City back in October), missing out on qualifying for the Champions Division of the GA Cup finals on goal differential.
Atlanta United and NYCFC earned the two automatic qualifiers out of the region with 15 points each while D.C. United earned one of the two at-large berths with 9 points. The Union will settle again for the Premier Division of the competition in Frisco, Texas in March.
Before they get to Texas, the team has three league matches starting with a game this Saturday against rival Continental FC.
“The intensity of it all, there’s so much riding on it, and just playing against top level competition is great for the boys,” Lewis said of the competition. “I think it will take us into the DA season in better form and a better mindset really. We can kind of go back to these games and reflect and try to get rid of the some of the issues we had.”