A semi-final game that came down to the wire wasn’t a bad way to end the MLS is Back tournament for the Philadelphia Union. Brenden Aaronson and Mark McKenzie, two young stars for the Union and the United States national team, made tournament’s Best XI. Goalkeeper Andre Blake also made the XI and received the Golden Glove award. Aaronson was also nominated for Young Player of the Tournament, an award that was won by Los Angeles FC forward, Diego Rossi. Nonetheless, both Aaronson and McKenzie displayed their talents and skills on the pitch in nearly every game.

Both players are playing “ahead of their times”, so to speak. McKenzie was the second youngest in the Best XI. The youngest? His teammate, Brenden Aaronson. Aaronson was effective against the Union’s second group stage match as Inter Miami CF. He provided an assist and helped Philly on one of the best counterattacks in the team’s history; the Union went on to win the game, 2-1 at full-time.

Aaronson was also key in the Union’s quarterfinal matchup against Sporting Kansas City, providing forward Sergio Santos with a great through ball to make it 3-0 at the 39th minute. McKenzie showcased his versatility as not only being able to hold his own in the Union’s backline, but also have the capability to distribute the ball to the midfield and the wings. The two earned their places in the Best XI, rightfully so. 

Aaronson and McKenzie are back in training with the Union.

The team is preparing for the MLS season to kick off again. Philly plays the New England Revolution next week at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. They played the Revolution in the Round of 16 of the tourney. The Union went on to win 1-0 via a Sergio Santos goal in the 63rd minute.

Fans should remain confident that both players will stay with the Union for the foreseeable future. But, Aaronson and McKenzie will soon have to pack their bags to leave for Europe as trade rumors are currently sky-high. Time will only tell where they will end up. But for now, they are Union players and we should be pretty happy about that.