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Union II picks up second win of 2020 with dominating 4-0 win over Loudoun United

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Craig, Sorenson, Kingue and Stafford all scored their first professional goals

Shivant Krishnan

Four players scored their first professional goals to lead the Philadelphia Union II to their second win of the season in a 4-0 victory over Loudoun United at Subaru Park on Wednesday evening.

Brandan Craig, playing in the midfield, opened the scoring and became the seventh youngest goal-scorer in USL Championship history when he connected on a volley off a poorly headed clearance just inside the box in the 6th minute. Axel Picazo started the play when he was able to chase down a ball from Jamoi Topey and keep it inbounds on the left flank before crossing it into the box.

“Today was just about finishing our chances that we didn’t finish on Saturday,” Craig said after the match, referring to the 1-1 draw against Loudoun in Virginia on Saturday night. “That’s what happens when we do finish our chances, we can beat up these teams like this.”

Left back Anton Sorenson started and finished a goal-scoring play in the 20th minute when he found Paxten Aaronson in the middle of the park and Aaronson’s through ball split two defenders to play Sorenson into a one-v-one with Temple and Reading United alum Simon Lefebvre. Lefebvre, who was named the USL Championship player of the week after his performance against U2 on Saturday, got a piece of the shot but was unable to keep it out in a play he surely would have wanted back.

“I’ve been working all summer for it,” the Ann Arbor, Michigan native said of his first professional goal.

U2 wasn’t done scoring in the first half, matching their season high for goals 12 minutes later through a lovely display of teamwork. Craig started the play when he won the ball deep in Loudoun territory and dished it back to McGlynn who charged forward and passed up a shot to feed the ball to Patrick Bohui, who also passed up a shot to instead set Steve Kingue up in front of goal for a volley past Lefebvre.

McGlynn was again pulling the strings to create the fourth goal of the night in the 83rd minute when he set up Stafford in the box and the Cincinnatus, N.Y. native did well to place his low shot inside the far post.

“The guys are working incredibly hard,” interim head coach Marlon LeBlanc said. “They bought into what we want to do and you’re starting to see a lot of the fruits of their labor kind of paying off with bright spots, great finishing.”

U2 had other chances to score even more goals — David Rabadan hit the underside of the crossbar and the ball somehow stayed out and Topey was denied by Lefebvre off a corner. Lefebvre made 7 saves on the night to go with 13 he made on Saturday night.

As it was, the 4-0 win was just the second four-goal win in team history and the first since the Bethlehem Steel beat Toronto FC II 4-0 on September 22, 2018.

First team homegrown goalkeeper Matt Freese, the oldest player on the field for the home side at 22, made four stops on the night to record his second clean sheet of the season, including a diving save in the 65th minute to keep the visitors off the board. Freese started the season opener in Chester way back in March that ended in a scoreless draw.

“Matt brings a lot to the table, obviously, and is a steady presence back there,” LeBlanc said. “He’s a commanding presence vocally, and I think he gives the guys behind some real good security and information.”

The win was the first for the Union II since LeBlanc’s first game in charge against Red Bulls II way back on August 5. The team had to postpone three straight games after that match because of positive Covid-19 tests and lost three straight before playing Loudoun United to a 1-1 draw on Saturday, despite being up a man after the 13th minute. They improved to 2-7-2 on the season and are 20 points back of first place Pittsburgh Riverhounds and 14 behind second place Hartford Athletic in the standings for Group F.

Up next, U2 hosts Hartford Athletic at 5 p.m. on Sunday.

GOALS/ASSISTS:
PHI – Brandan Craig (unassisted) 6’
PHI – Anthony Sorenson (Aaronson) 20’
PHI – Steve Kingue (Bohui) 32’
PHI – Caden Stafford (McGlynn) 83’

LINEUPS
Philadelphia Union II: Matt Freese; Nathan Harriel, Dante Huckaby, Jamoi Topey, Anthony Sorenson, Jack McGlynn ( Danny Flores 87’), Steve Kingue, Brandan Craig (Selmir Miscic 87’), Axel Picazo (Jack Jasinski 67’), Paxten Aaronson (David Rabadán 58’), Patrick Bohui (Caden Stafford 59’)

Substitutes not used: Ben Martino, Sean Bettenhausen

Loudoun United FC: Simon Lefebvre, Allexon Saravia, Shane Wiedt, Timmy Mehl, Tyler Gabarra (Erumuse Momoh 84’), Ally Ng’anzi (Brandon Williamson 45’), Joshua Fawole (Peabo Doue 64’), Christian Sorto (Gabi Gómez 64’) , Nelson Martinez, Kairou Amoustapha, Alioune Ndour (Massimo Ferrin 45’)

Substitutes not used: Colin Miller, Diego Gomez