The Union play out the string against an Orlando team who also has nothing to play for but their pride.
With the Union formally eliminated from the playoffs, you’d think the players have nothing to play for, but you’d be wrong. Season ticket reps are allegedly calling season ticket holders and proclaiming that over two million dollars is coming off of the books. Changes are coming. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that now, a couple years into his tenure as sporting director, Earnie Stewart is ready to do some moving and shaking, which means even moreso than usual, players are playing for a locker next year.
One player who’ll be playing his final match? Brian Carroll. The ageless warrior will see the last appearance of his career on Sunday as he’s formally announced his retirement following the match. He’s a Union legend on par with Sebastien Le Toux and should receive the kind of send off only the Philly faithful can give him.
One player who may be playing his final match? Kaka, who’s made noise about retirement and freely admitted his body “isn’t what it once was“.
One player who has absolutely played his final match for the Union? Maurice Edu. There is zero chance of Mo coming back. None. Nada.
One player who won’t be playing on Sunday is Keegan Rosenberry, who took to social media to subtly express his displeasure in the lack of times he was selected this year and was subsequently suspended by the team. After a stellar rookie season which saw him come in second to Jordan Morris for Rookie of the Year honors, Rosenberry experienced the sophomore slump, losing his job Ray Gaddis for a long stretch before eventually reclaiming it, only to see it lost again when he picked up a knock.
A couple more things to watch for as these two teams do battle for the last time in 2017: with a goal, C.J. Sapong can break the Union record for goals in a single season of 14, co-held by himself and Le Toux. Also, Rookie of the Year candidate Jack Elliott will almost certainly start for the Union, and another good game by him may solidify his shot at the award. And of course, it’s one last time to enjoy reigning Goalkeeper of the Year Andre Blake, who is often whispered to be on the move in the transfer window and may fetch a handsome sum in the winter.
As for the match itself? Let’s go with an offense-filled draw.
Union 2, Orlando City 2