Early on this season, Nate Harriel has been one of the many bright spots for the Philadelphia Union. Ever since he was inserted into the starting lineup in week two, he has seized the opportunity and not looked back.
In his three games played this year, Harriel has helped the defense and Andre Blake only allow one goal. Also in this span, the team has posted two shutouts en route to a 3-0-0 record and Philadelphia’s best start in club history.
Harriel was named to MLS Team of the Week in the past two weeks for his extraordinary efforts, including bench accolades. The 5’10” defender has been everywhere defensively and has thwarted any offensive chances from the opponents.
Following the team’s opening week tie to Minnesota United FC, manager Jim Curtin opted to remove Olivier Mbaizo from the lineup due to his struggles. Mbaizo’s mistake was the reason the Union allowed a goal to Minnesota, who are also unbeaten this season.
It has been refreshing to see Harriel step in and insert his presence because this was a position that seemed to be a bright spot on the team prior to Mbaizo’s miscues. The Union Academy product has been dominant on the pitch and aided in the team’s success this season.
The 20-year-old played a vital role in the Union’s first victory at Yankee Stadium in club history. He also assisted on the team’s second goal in the match to put the game away. On the defensive side of the ball, Harriel shut down Taty Castellanos, last year’s Golden Boot winner. The right back led the team with five interceptions and recorded in four tackles in the win.
The Oldsmar, Florida native has been to many Temple University men’s soccer games as well to show support to fellow Union Academy product Eoin Gawronski.
Here’s hoping Harriel can continue his success on the field for the Boys in Blue and keep racking up shutouts to solidify the team’s spot as one of the best defenses in the league.
“Featured Image: Carl Gulbish/Brotherly Game”