The Philadelphia Union U15s are knocking on the door of what would be a first post-season for a Union Academy team today thanks to the ice water that was running through their veins in back-to-back penalty shootout wins.
Goalkeeper Andrew Rick made three straight saves to erase a couple of misses against Austin FC and Matt Routzahn hit his second straight deciding penalty in the shootout to put the Union U15s into today’s MLS Next Cup semifinal against New England Revolution.
It’s the first time a Union Academy team has made it this far in the playoffs since the U16 team made it to the Development Academy semifinals in 2015. They beat the New England Revolution in Chester that year to advance to the finals in Los Angeles, where they fell to FC Dallas in the semi.
Several players on this team — Rick included — were part of the Phil Karn-coached U13 team that won the preseason U13 Concacaf Champions League competition down in Costa Rica in August 2018. That was the first trophy won by a Union youth team since Jim Curtin led what was essentially an all-star team of local club players to the Generation adidas Cup title in 2012.
Former Union and Bethlehem Steel FC player Ryan Richter is the head coach of this 2006 group.
Today’s semifinal kicks off at 10:05 a.m. eastern time and will be streamed live on MLSSoccer.com and the MLS app. It’s one of two games involving local teams in Frisco today as FC Delco takes on Tampa Bay United in the U16 semifinal at 12:05 p.m.