Over the weekend, the Philadelphia Union defeated Liga MX side, Pachuca, 1-0 in a friendly match at Subaru Park. Pachuca is currently in third place in their league in the ongoing Apertura campaign, so this result is all the more impressive for a Union side that were undermanned and only had three players available on their bench.
Since this game happened during the September international break, the Union lineup featured many players that do usually earn starting nods from manager Jim Curtin. With players competing for their international squad and a Union II Eastern Conference Semifinal game, the starting lineup consisted of backups including goalkeeper Joe Bendik, defender Matt Real, midfielders Richard Odada, Jesús Bueno, and Jeremy Raffanello, and striker Nelson Pierre.
Odada, Raffanello, and Pierre all made their first Union appearance on Saturday night as they each made their presence known on the field in team’s victory. Odada and Raffanelo made an impact in the middle of the field with crisp passes and quick movements on the ball, and Pierre provided a dangerous offensive attack.
Defender Nate Harriel scored the lone and game-winning goal in the 49th minute on a soaring header via a free kick. Defender Kai Wagner delivered a beautiful cross which found the head of Harriel as he pounded it into the back of the net.
What a finish!!!
— x – PhilaUnion (@PhilaUnion) September 24, 2022
Bendik was phenomenal in goal as well and made many great saves to preserve the lead and ultimately, the win. Wagner and Harriel also provided some great defensive stops on the back line to keep the shutout against an extremely talented Mexican squad. The depth of the Boys of Blue was on full display on Saturday night and it further proved that this team can go deep in the playoffs.
— x – PhilaUnion (@PhilaUnion) September 25, 2022
At the end of the day, the Union will carry a lot of momentum with them following this win and it should help them in their stretch run to hopefully win the Eastern Conference and possibly win the Supporters Shield.
"Featured Image: @PhilaUnion/Twitter"