Union battle for first vs Orlando City SC

With a win, the Union can ascend to first place in the East once again.

Orlando City SC (2-0-2) will travel to the city of Brotherly Love to face the Philadelphia Union (2-2-0) this Friday, April 8th, at 7 PM.

The Union are trying to bounce back from a 1-0 loss in Chicago that could have easily seen them come away with points. The Lions are trying to extend an unbeaten season to five games, having gained two draws and two wins in their first four games, including a 4-1 pasting of the defending champion Portland Timbers in Orlando last week that coincided with the return of Brazilian star midfielder Kaka.

Orlando City will be without three important pieces: Brek Shea had a yellow card changed to a red retroactively by MLS’s disciplinary committee and is suspended. Reigning rookie of the year and striker Cyle Larin had a hamstring issue last game and will not travel; neither will defender Tommy Redding, who suffered a head injury and left at halftime. The Union will be without Maurice Edu and Warren Creavalle (red card suspension), but will have Vincent Nogueira and Tranquillo Barnetta back and available for selection.

Last year, the Union earned a scoreless draw in Orlando on August 8th, then beat Orlando City 1-0 in Philly in the last game of the year.

The Union sit in a three-way tie for second in the Eastern conference table below the team they’ll be facing Friday. They play four of their next five matches (vs Orlando, at Seattle, vs NYCFC, vs San Jose, vs LA) in the friendly confines of Talen Energy Stadium, a place they hope to make a fortress this year. This is a key stretch of games in which they need results at home to keep pace with the rest of the conference; should the Union win this match, they would be on nine points and atop the Eastern Conference once again.

Here’s the anticipated XI for the Union:

1431328_Philadelphia_Union

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