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REPORT | (Pre-Season) Philadelphia Union II 1-1 Wrexham AFC

Wrexham conclude US Tour in Philly on night of extreme weather

29 July 2023

Club News

REPORT | (Pre-Season) Philadelphia Union II 1-1 Wrexham AFC

Wrexham conclude US Tour in Philly on night of extreme weather

29 July 2023

Wrexham brought the curtain down on their US Tour on a night of extreme weather at Subaru Park.

Having started the game in extreme heat and humidity, the match was delayed for more than two hours at half-time as a thunderstorm rolled in.

Tom O’Connor had fired Wrexham into the lead just before half-time, after Sam Dalby had earlier had a goal disallowed, but Jeremy Rafanello levelled with a free-kick.

When the game resumed, with Wrexham having changed their entire 11 for the restart

With Paul Mullin recovering in San Diego after the punctured lung he suffered against Manchester United, Phil Parkinson played Sam Dalby up front with Elliot Lee sat off him.

James Jones, Jacob Mendy, Eoghan O’Connell and Will Boyle also came into the starting XI for a match played in hot and humid condition at Subaru Park.

Wrexham could have taken the lead after just two minutes, when Elliot Lee’s cross was deflected into Ben Tozer’s path, but his low shot hit team-mate Boyle and deflected wide.

At the other end, Rafanello’s shot skipped up awkwardly on five minutes, but Ben Foster saved and then spread himself well to deny Quinn Sullivan from the rebound.

Ryan Barnett was causing early problems on the right for Wrexham, nutmegging Juan Castillo to set James Jones away and then, in the tenth minute, winning a corner after a typical stepover and cross.

The visitors could not capitalise, however, as the game played out with a slower rhythm than the match against Man United in San Diego.

On 25 minutes, O’Connell flicked Tozer’s long throw on but Dalby’s header was saved comfortably.

Lee then met O’Connor’s deep corner on 28 minutes – an inswinger through to the back post – but he headed straight at Union goalkeeper Andrew Rick.

After a drinks break was taken, Sullivan was next to try his luck – letting fly from distance on 37 minutes but shooting wildly off target.

Wrexham had the ball in the net in the 39th minute, when O’Connell flicked on another Tozer throw-in for Dalby to head in, but the referee spotted an infringement.

The deadlock was finally broken on 42 minutes, however, when the decision to have Lee take over corner duties from O’Connor paid dividends. Lee swung the ball in right-footed, and it was deflected to an unmarked O’Connor, who rifled in from the middle of the area.

Union II levelled in stoppage time though, after O’Connell’s loose pass was intercepted and Tozer brought Rafanello down on the edge of the box. He picked himself up to hit the free-kick himself, which took a deflection off Andy Cannon and wrongfooted Foster.

As a thunderstorm rolled over Philadelphia, however, the start of the second half was delayed and fans urged to take shelter from the elements away from the open seating areas.

With Wrexham players waiting in the tunnel, and fans sheltering as heavy rain began, updates continued to come in and – eventually – the players emerged for the second-half just short of 11pm local time.

Phil Parkinson changed the entire line-up at the break, which included a first appearance on the US Tour for Aaron James in defence, and first-team coach David Jones taking a shift in central midfield.

Philadelphia started quickest after the break, and Rafanello’s fierce shot from just outside the area was well saved by Mark Howard on 47 minutes.

Moments later, Howard was called into action again – this time getting down well to turn Vazquez’s low shot away from goal.

Wrexham found their feet, however, and Jordan Davies’ long-range strike, from Callum McFadzean’s low pass in, was saved on 61 minutes.

In truth, the second-half lacked rhythm, but Union substitute Nelson Pierre was inches away from grabbing a goal on 80 minutes, spinning Aaron Hayden and firing goalwards only for his effort to hit the outside of the post.

Fellow substitute Kyle Tucker also fired straight at Howard a minute later.

The closest the Red Dragons came to claiming victory was through Aaron James, who headed narrowly wide in the 91st minute

Wrexham First-Half: Foster, O’Connell, Tozer, Boyle, Barnett, J.Jones, O’Connor, Cannon, Mendy, Lee, Dalby

Wrexham Second-Half: Howard, Hosannah, Cleworth, James, Hayden, McFadzean, J.Davies, D.Jones, McAlinden, Palmer, Waters

Bookings: McFadzean (88, foul)

Philadelphia Union II: Rick, Castillo, Le Guennec, Krueger, Westfield, Rojas, Olney (Nelson Pierre 62), Sullivan, Vazquez (Sanchez 62), Donovan (Stojanovic 62), Rafanello (Tucker 74)

Subs not used: Atkinson, Sorensen, Nkanji, Neil Pierre, Perez, Diallo, Davis

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