The Philadelphia Union II hit the road for the first time in 2020 and showed marked improvement from their first two matches since play resumed in the USL Championship before falling 3-2 to Hartford Athletic on Saturday night.
Yomi Scintu and Axel Picazo scored inside the first 20 minutes to stun the home crowd (fans were allowed) at Dillon Stadium in Hartford, but the were unable to hang onto the lead to halftime, conceding twice in a two-minute span before halftime.
Hartford pulled the first goal back after a lovely chip into the box from Danny Barrera that Gabriel Torres was able to rocket past Ben Martino. Four minutes later Mads Jorgensen got on the end of a ball cleared out of the box fire a low liner past Martino from 35 yards out.
The Athletic kept their perfect start to the 2020 season going when Barerra again played the provider to set up an Ever Guzman strike in the 53rd minute that beat Martino to his near post.
After falling 6-0 and 5-1 in their first two games back in Chester, the Union II took their first lead of 2020 (they played Loudoun United to a scoreless draw in early March) four minutes in thanks to a gift from the Hartford back line: a poor pass Scintu was able to easily pick off and convert into a layup of a goal. Unfortunately, Scintu came up limp after the play and left the game a few minutes later. The goal was his second in USL and first since he scored last September against North Carolina FC.
Twelve minutes later Axel Picazo, who has been the Union II’s brightest attackers so far this season, was the beneficiary of a charging run from Danny Flores who beat his man to the end line and cut the ball back to Picazo for an easy flick. The assist was a first at the professional level for Flores and the goal Picazo’s second at this level. Flores had replaced Scintu in the 8th minute and pushed Picazo up from the midfield to forward.
Union II head coach Sven Gartung showed a different look to open installing three center backs — Ben Ofeimu, Jamoi Topey and Dante Huckaby — with Issa Rayyan as the left wing back and Nathan Harriel on the right.
The Athletic were still able to create plenty of chances, outshooting their guests 17-8 on the night, forcing Martino into four saves and three punches while limiting their opponents to one shot on goal after going down 2-0.
Gartung also brought in Quinn Sullivan, Paxten Aaronson and Brandan Craig for fresh legs chasing the game and Steve Kingue with two minutes left in regulation. Goalkeeper Mitchell Budler was the only player who dressed that didn’t play.
The Union II now have one point in four games in the Group F standings while Hartford has leads the group with nine out of nine points secured.
The game was the first between Jack McGlynn and his older brother Conor McGlynn, who signed with Hartford six days after Jack signed his first professional contract in early March. Conor was shown a yellow card for a challenge on his younger brother in the 66th minute.
Up next, the Union II will travel to Pittsburgh to play the Pittsburgh Riverhounds in a closed-door match at Highmark Stadium on Saturday night.
Philadelphia Union II: Ben Martino; Isaa Rayyan, Dante Huckaby, Jamoi Topey, Ben Ofeimu, Nathan Harriel (Brandan Craig, 59’); Jack McGlynn, Axel Picazo (Paxten Aaronson, 59’), David Rabadan (Steve Kingue, 87’); Selmir Miscic (Quinn Sullivan, 59), Yomi Scintu (Danny Flores 8’)
Substitutes not used: Mitchell Budler
Hartford Athletic: Parfait Mandanda; Matheus Silva, Kevin Politz, Sam Strong; Danny Barrera (Alfonso Vazquez, 88), Conor McGlynn, Gabriel Torres, Arthur Rogers (Alejandro Lara, 76’), Mads Jorgensen; Tyreke Johnson (Nicky Downs, 89’), Ever Guzman (Andre Deas, 64’)
Substitutes not used: Alex Davey, Aiden Mesias, Michael Novotny