After showing a lot of positive signs despite the scoreboard showing a 3-0 loss at home to Hartford Athletic on Sunday, the Philadelphia Union II put in a sharper and more complete performance in a 1-1 draw agains the playoff-bound Hartford Athletic on the road Wednesday.
Where defensive miscues were their downfall Sunday, it was the play of center back Dante Huckaby that was notable in the first half. He came with a couple big tackles to hold the home side playing in front of 1,375 fans at Dillon Stadium. Nathan Harriel also made a potential goal-saving tackle in the back in the first half as well.
Former Reading United winger Alex Dixon, who scored a brace on Sunday, put one in the back of the net early but was whistled for offside while on the other end David Rabadan again showed how dangerous he can be from distance with a lovely strike from 35 yards out that just caught the crossbar and stayed out.
Six minutes after the Spaniard nearly put the visitors in front, Sam Strong was able to get on the end of the Athletic’s seventh corner of the night in traffic and muscle it in past Matt Freese to put Hartford in front.
Down a goal, the Union II attack was able to create a number of chances, including one off a lovely line-breaking ball from Brandan Craig at the center back spot and a long run and cross from Anton Sorenson. Sorenson wasn’t able to record an assist on the play, but his contribution going forward would be felt yet again — he also had a shot on goal earlier in the half — when he sent a cross on the ground from near the left corner flag that found its way through traffic to Jack McGlynn for the left footed finish. Paxten Aaronson was also involved in the build-up with some fancy footwork before sending the ball wide to Sorenson, who nearly assisted a game-winner when he set up Patrick Bohui for a one-v-one chance goalkeeper Parfait Mandanda was able to stop.
The 76th minute goal was the second of the season for McGlynn and the first professional assist for Sorenson. Moments after tying the game, McGlynn’s older brother Conor McGlynn checked in for the home side after missing their last meeting with an injury. Conor thought he had a game-winner when he got on the end of a corner kick in the 88th minute but the goal was waived off for a foul in the box on Strong and the remaining minutes in regulation and stoppage time ticked off with the spoils even.
A welcome sign for Union II was seeing Issa Rayyan check into the game in the 74th minute for his first game action since late July. His return comes with just three games left on the schedule, a match at Red Bull 2 Saturday, another Hartford Athletic match at home Wednesday and Pittsburgh away on October 3.
HFD – Sam Strong (Barrera) 45+2’
PHI – Jack McGlynn (Sorenson) 76’
HFD – Idan Cohen (caution) 56’
HFD – Mads Jorgensen (caution) 68’
HFD – Sam Strong (caution) 88’
PHI – Paxten Aaronson (caution) 90’
Philadelphia Union II: Matt Freese, Nathan Harriel, Brandan Craig, Dante Huckaby, Anthony Sorenson, David Rabadán (Danny Flores 67’), Steve Kingue (Patrick Bohui 68’), Jack McGlynn, Axel Picazo (Selmir Miscic 64’), Paxten Aaronson, Caden Stafford (Issa Rayyan 74’)
Substitutes not used: Jamoi Topey, Mitch Budler, Jack Jasinski
Hartford Athletic: Parfait Mandanda, Sam Strong, Kevin Politz, Arthur Rogers, Alejandro Lara, Mads Jorgensen (Conor McGlynn 77’), Gabriel Torres (Tyreke Johnson 64’), Danny Barrera (Aiden Mesias 45’), Justin Haak (Idan Cohen 45’), Alex Dixon (Markus Naglestad 45’), Alfonso Vázquez Villar
Substitutes not used: Michael Novotny, Andre Deas