When they needed it the most, Marlon LeBlanc's squad delivered an outstanding performance, battling not only their opponent but also rainy weather conditions.
Against tough odds, Union II secured their playoff spot in a hard-fought 3-1 victory over New York Red Bulls II on the road, earning them a season sweep of their Eastern Conference rivals and the title of MLS NEXT Pro Team of Matchday 28.
Amid the downpour, Union II broke the deadlock in the 20th minute when Jeremy Rafanello earned a crucial free kick. Rafanello stepped up and knocked in his 9th goal of the season with a low driven free kick, giving his side the 1-0 lead in the 20th minute.
Just before halftime, Union II doubled their lead when a David Vazquez's attempt at goal was deflected and landed at the feet of Hugo Le Guennec. With no hesitation, the 23-year-old centerback unleashed a strike from outside the box that found the back of the and earned the Frenchman his first-ever goal for Union II.
Red Bulls II mounted a comeback in the 73rd minute when Julian Hall got on the end of a Juan Mina cross into the box, cutting Union II’s lead in half.
Wanting to protect their lead, Philadelphia Union II continued their attack into the waning minutes of the second half. Juan Castillo provided a low cross to a streaking David Vazquez who sealed his side’s victory with a tap-in in the box.
This victory secured the second consecutive playoff berth for LeBlanc’s side, grabbing the seventh and final spot in the Eastern Conference.
Union II will now wait to find out who they will face in the first round of the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro Playoffs where the number 2 and number 3 seeds of the Eastern Conference will choose their opponent to face at home.