Week 17 of the inaugural MLS NEXT Pro season is here, with a special twist: TWO Game of the Week matches.
Philadelphia Union II host Toronto FC II in an Eastern Conference clash between two teams outside the playoff bubble on Monday, July 18. Kickoff is set for 6:00 pm ET at Subaru Park.
TFC II are looking to extend their unbeaten streak to six straight matches while Union II are looking to bounce back after being winless in their last seven.
This and every match will be available to stream live and free of charge on MLSNEXTPro.com. MLS NEXT Pro has teamed up with automated camera technology provider Spiideo to deliver live streams of all MLS NEXT Pro matches, ensuring every game this season will be available for viewing on MLSNEXTPro.com.
The matchup is this week's MLS NEXT Pro Game of the Week, so viewers will experience a multi-camera production for this match.
Union II are winless in their last seven matches and have fallen to eighth overall in the Eastern Conference, nine points out of a playoff spot heading into Week 17. The only points they have taken during that span was a two-point matchday against Fire II on June 19, drawing 1-1 and then claiming an additional point in the shootout. Struggling in the attacking end of the pitch, Union II have only scored 14 goals this campaign; the second least across the league.
In the first meeting this season between the two clubs, TFC II took all three points in a 1-0 victory on June 1. Now, however, Union II have a chance to flip the scoreline on their home ground.
Despite losing playmaker Chris Donovan to the first-team after he was awarded an MLS contract for his performances, Union II still have a formidable roster that can surprise this up-and-coming TFC II side.
Nelson Pierre, forward: Pierre leads the team in scoring with three goals so far over 12 matches this season.
Cole Turner, midfielder: Turner has one goal and one assist for Union II throughout the campaign, while boasting a 72 percent passing percentage.
Francis Westfield, midfielder: Westfield has one assist so far this season, while leading the team with 16 tackles won.
TFC II are one of the hottest teams in MLS NEXT Pro at the moment, riding a five-match unbeaten streak. However, they’re still outside the playoff bubble as things stand due to a rocky start to their campaign.. They occupy the No. 6 spot in the East, four points outside a playoff spot.
Recent results have the camp north of the border excited about the final stretch of the season. Wins over Union II and NYCFC 2 plus draws against RNY FC, Revs II and Crew 2 have TFC II in high spirits. The latter four sides are all ahead of them in the Eastern Conference standings, and TFC II have deservedly earned a result against each side.
Head coach Gianni Cimini knows that his side have already beaten Union II once this season on their home ground, and now, he realizes that his side have a chance at the double over them.
Paul Rothrock, midfielder: Rothrock has three goals and four assists for TFC II so far this season. The 23-year-old has been a standout in the center of the pitch.
Themi Antonoglou, midfielder: Antonoglou has four goals for TFC II so far this campaign, recently scoring in a 2-0 victory over NYCFC II.
Julian Altobelli, midfielder: Altobelli has three goals for TFC II this season, while boasting a 79.6 passing percentage.