Kacper Przybylko scored his second goal in as many games and the Philadelphia Union won their second straight preseason scrimmage with a 1-0 win over the Montreal Impact on Wednesday night in Clearwater.
Przybylko was the beneficiary of a play started by a header from Jakob Gleses to captain Alejandro Bedoya in space who set up Sergio Santos with a filthy through ball from midfield that he was able to run onto and cross into the path of the Union’s leading goal scorer from a year ago. Santos had combined with Kacper moments earlier to create a chance for Kacper that was denied but he finished off the highlight reel goal in the 56th minute just as the time neared for many of the starters to be replaced.
Kiiiinda think that Sergio Santos is going to break out this year if he stays healthy.— Matthew Doyle (@MattDoyle76) February 6, 2020
Also this is a hell of a pass from Bedoya. pic.twitter.com/NkoJT7SwRV
Head coach Jim Curtin’s lineup still was without star midfielder Jamiro Monteiro, Kai Wagner and Andrew Wooten, but he was still able to field his strongest squad of the preseason so far. Matej Oravec got his first minutes starting as a holding midfielder in what looked like a 4-2-2-2 with Bedoya and Matt Real, Mark McKenzie, Jakob Glesnes and Ray Gaddis started in front of Joe Bendik. Brenden Aaronson and Anthony Fontana played as attacking mids and Santos and Przybylko paired up top.
Out of the gate, the Union looked good pressing the Impact and were creating a number of turnovers while putting the defense under plenty of duress but the sharpness wasn’t quite there on the final ball and some of the touches were noticeably heavy. The counter was on a few times for Montreal but McKenzie showed the poise you’d expect from the young center back returning from his senior national team debut and Glesnes continued to impress not only with his positioning but his passing range as well.
Bedoya was involved in most of the positive attacking moments in the first half and nearly opened the scoring when he found himself alone inside the 18 but his shot was blocked out for a corner and after a finger tip save on the ensuing corner the Impact made it to halftime without allowing too much else.
After Przybylko’s goal in the second half, things got more disjointed in the way that preseason games often can and a flurry of subs did little to change that.
In the end, Curtin was able to get some valuable minutes for some of his youngest players, see a solid showing from El Brujo in the second half and get a glimpse of what is potentially a strike partnership poised to fully bloom.
First Half Starting XI: Joe Bendik; Matt Real, Mark McKenzie, Jakob Glesnes, Ray Gaddis; Matej Oravec, Alejandro Bedoya; Brenden Aaronson, Anthony Fontana; Kacper Przybylko, Sergio Santos
Second Half Lineup (after all subs made): Matt Freese, Olivier Mbaizo, Mark McKenzie, Aurelien Collin, Ray Gaddis; Cole Turner, El Brujo; Jack De Vries, Brenden Aaronson, Anthony Fontana; Michee Ngalina
With three games now in the books, only Monteiro, Wooten, Wagner and Jack Elliott from the current first team roster have yet to log a minute in a preseason match.
Up next, the team returns to Philadelphia for a couple days off and to attend Friday’s jersey launch party before returning to Clearwater and taking on FC Cincinnati at IMG Academy next Wednesday.