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Philadelphia Union II wins MLS Next Pro debut over FC Cincinnati 2

The reserve team’s Next Pro debut showcased both first team and newer Union program players.

Jack Verdeur

The Philadelphia Union II team made their MLS Next Pro debut on Sunday afternoon against FC Cincinnati 2, winning 2-0. Goals from Carlos Paternina and Jesus Bueno propelled the reserve team to victory in Subaru Park.

The Union II started the scoring early, Paternina found the back right corner of the net off a pass from the left side of the field from Chris Donovan.

Paternina, a 20-year-old no. 10, had a solid match throughout, making impressive plays in and around the box on offense. Paternina even displayed some attitude against Cincinnati, picking up a ball and rolling it away while defending a free kick in Cincinnati’s half.

Despite the early offensive success from Philadelphia, the beginning of the match was highlighted by sloppy play. Both sides seemed to be out of sync, and suffered from poor passing, touches, and communication.

Eventually, Philadelphia calmed down and started to look like the development side that they’re designed to be. They allowed Cincinnati 2 to dominate the possession, while creating chances with the time that they got on the ball.

While the match slowed down during the middle of the half, both teams had solid chances denied late in the opening 45 minutes. The Union II’s Nathanial Nkanji forced Cincinnati keeper Roman Celentano to make a goal line stop in the 36’, while Matt Freese and Union II were saved from conceding a nice shot by Andrew Akindele by the offsides flag.

Like the first half, the Union II got started early on offense. Donovan received a high ball in the box and tried to get it past Celentano, but Philadelphia only saw a corner come out of the possession.

Paternina had his own interesting start to the half, receiving a yellow card for delaying the restart for a second time in the match.

Philadelphia saw their second goal come in fantastic style, as Bueno received the ball in the center of the box through a dummy by Stojanovic and a pass from Cole Tuner, and drove the ball into the net with enough pace to simply push past Celentano. Bueno had a second chance to earn a brace just moments later, but his shot was blocked by an outstretched Celentano.

Following Bueno’s shots, Union II made their first substitutions, taking out Bueno and Paternina, while brining on Juan Perdomo and Ian Abbey. Abbey got to work early, with a quick shot in the box that was blocked, and almost reaching a rebounded free kick in the box that would’ve resulted in a dangerous shot on goal.

The duration of the match was largely quiet. Nelson Pierre and Francis Westfield both made their debuts, but couldn’t create any real opportunities. Neither team seemed especially determined to score, and both looked comfortable to play behind the ball outside of a few attacking chances. As the final whistle blew, the Union II emerged with their first three points in MLS Next Pro play.

The Union II will play their next match on Saturday, April 3 when they take on Inter Miami II in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The match will begin at 6 p.m. and can be streamed on

PHI – Carlos Paternina (Chris Donovan) 4’
PHI – Jesus Bueno (Cole Turner) 58’

CIN – Morgan Marshall (caution) 47’
PHI – Carlos Paternina (caution) 53’


Philadelphia Union II: Matt Freese; Anton Sorenson, Nathan Nkanji, Jackson Gilman, Matt Real; Cole Turner, Jesus Bueno (Ian Abbey 63’), Boubacar Diallo (Francis Westfield 89’), Carlos Paternina (Juan Perdomo Rivero 64’); Chris Donovan ( Nelson Pierre, 77’), Stefan Stojanovic.

Substitutes not used: Damian Alguera, Bajung Darboe, Jack Jasinski, Brooks Thompson, Maike Villero Farinez.

FC Cincinnati 2: Roman Celentano; Avionne Flanagan (Ashton Kamden 63’), Ian Murphy, Kai Thomas, Morgan Marshall (Max Miller 84‘); Zico Bailey, Harrison Robledo, Nick Markanich (Leonardo Vazquez 74’), Gerarado Valenzuela, Arquimedes Ordonez; Andrew Akindele.

Substitutes not used: David Garcia, Jack Moxom, Khris Turcios, Marcel Ruszel.