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Union II looks to rebound against New York Red Bulls II tonight

After falling 6-0 in their first game back, Union II aims to learn from the lessons learned from Pittsburgh Riverhounds

After dropping their first game in four months to the Pittsburgh Riverhounds 6-0 on Saturday, the Philadelphia Union II return to Chester tonight looking to rebound against the New York Red Bulls II.

“We have to work out some of these things out on the field,” head coach Sven Gartung said in a conference call on Monday. “We really don’t have a lot of time but on the other hand it is a quick opportunity to do some of these things better.”

Saturday night was always going to be a tough task against a Riverhounds team that had already played a regular season game since the USL Championship team resumed. By design, the Union II aren’t set up to win a lot of games against independent teams filled with experienced goal scorers and well traveled veterans.

But even by that lower bar, there was a lot wrong with the performance Gartung’s team put in on Saturday.

“The other team was was by far better and more experienced, they had good ball circulation, all these kind of things,” Gartung said. “You can work hard and I had the impression not everyone was following what we want to do in terms of working hard and doing everything to avoid goals.”

Aside from cleaning up the mistakes in the back the Riverhounds were able to force with their pressing to create goals, Gartung will want more production out of his forwards against the Baby Bulls tonight. Yomi Scintu and Shanyder Borgelin had an average position near the center circle on Saturday and neither was able to register a shot attempt.

Some bright attacking moments came early from the midfield tandem of Zach Zandi and Axel Picazo but there weren’t enough chances created to cause much unease for the Riverhounds defense.

Pittsburgh had 63 percent of the possession and outshot them 15-4 overall and 11-2 inside the 18.

“We got quite a few lessons for free,” Gartung said of the match.

Four players made their Union II debut on Saturday, including on-loan Spanish midfielder David Rabadan and academy players Ben Martino, Jack Jasinski and Quinn Sullivan. Gartung said he will likely make a few changes to the game day lineup, which could open a door for academy players Brandan Craig and Paxten Aaronson, who have both been training with the group and were rostered last week but didn’t dress. Goalkeeper Mitch Budler dressed on Saturday so he could be in line for his debut as well.

Second-year player Issa Rayyan is expected back in the lineup after missing Saturday’s game with a broken nose. There weren’t any injuries from the game to report from Gartung on Monday and he said the team and staff continues to test negative for Covid-19.

How to Watch

What: Philadelphia Union II vs New York Red Bulls II
Where: Subaru Park, Chester Pa. (closed to public)
When: Wednesday, July 22, 7:30 p.m.
Streaming: ESPN+