The Philadelphia Union Academy has left quite a mark on MLS NEXT Pro through 20 matchdays. In total, four players have combined to earn six Rising Star of the Matchday awards on behalf of Union II so far in 2023.
Matchday 20 sees a new face emerge in that contingent. 17-year-old Defender Francis Westfield earned the honor by kicking off the scoring in Union II's win over NYCFC II on Friday.
Defenders don't always get the credit they deserve in box scores. So, when they hit the net - it's always special. For Westfield, it marked his first-ever professional goal which is surely an unforgettable moment.
The moment was supplied by Union II's Stefan Stojanovic, who was fighting through a crowded box. Westfield got open and emerged as the obvious target and executed a perfect turn-and-shoot to get Union II on the right foot just before halftime.
The win rose Union II's unbeaten streak to six in a row. The recent surge has lifted Westfield and company into sixth in the Eastern Conference standings and back in the driver's seat for their playoff fate as we approach the home stretch of the season.