Still licking their wounds from the poor showing in a 4-2 L at NYCFC, the Philadelphia Union (9-5-5, 32 Pts., 1st Place Eastern Conference), end their run of games on the road at Orlando City SC (6-8-3, 21 Pts., 8th Pace). This is the start of an away and home series with Orlando.
The Union went a long way to assuaging the hurt of that last loss by beating Orlando 3-1, in a rough game that saw two Lions sent off.
Orlando City SC Starting XI: 4,3,3
GK; Brian Rowe: Ds Ruan , Lamine Sané, Robin Jansson, Danilo Acosta ; MFs Will Johnson, Sebastián Méndez, Sacha Kljestan; Fs Chris Mueller, Tesho Akindele, Nani
Union Starting XI: 4,1,2,1,2
GK Matt Freese; Ds Auston Trusty, Jack Elliott, Kai Wagner, Raymon Gaddis; MFs Haris Medunjanin, Alejandro Bedoya (C), Jamiro Monteiro, Brenden Aaronson; Fs Fafa Picault, Kacper Przybylko
It was all Orlando City in the early going as they had a few good chances in the 2′ and 4′. Finally all that pressure led to the first goal of the game by Orlando as the defense let Chris Mueller (5) just dribble right by them 8′
Not long after that the flow started to flip towards the U. They would have five corner kicks, but could not capitalize and then Medunjanin would earn a yellow on a frustration foul. 26′
This actually seemed to wake the team up as after a beautiful pass by Monteiro, Przybylko (7) danced his way to the equalizer. 32′
The Union would get a huge break just before the first half ended. On a long ball that found Picault open, Jansson tackled him from behind as Fafa was going in on goal with no other defender able to get him. The ref originally called it a yellow, but it was rightly ruled a Red by VAR. 45′
What a wild 45’+ it was. The shots were 8/7 Orlando, but the Union had one more on target 4/3. TOP was basically even, as was the score 1-1.
The U capitalized early on the extra man. They got the go-ahead goal when an amazing right leg back pass to Przybylko (8) from Bedoya, led to Kacper’s 2nd goal of the night. 47′
5′ later Fafa (3) gets in on the action.
Most of the rest of the match was in the Orlando end, especially after Kliestan was sent off for a terrible ankle breaking tackle from behind on Monteiro in the 67′. Jamiro eventually got up, but was subbed off a few ‘ later as he was obviously still in a lot of pain.
Orlando never gave up and took a few shots late at the Union goal, but nothing really scary.
In the end it was a big three road points. The 4th road point in 8 days and the U still control the top of the table.
Orlando City SC Cards:
Jansson Red 45′
Sacha Kljestan Red 67′
Wagner 90′ 1′
Orlando City SC Subs:
Kamal Miller for Nani HT
Shane O’Neill for Acosta 61′
Dom Dwyer for Mueller 61′
Marco Fabián on for Aaronson 65′
Sergio Santos on for Monteiro 73′
Anthony Fontana for Picault (cramp) 82′
The Union have to feel good about getting the W in Orlando and seeing this grueling 4 games in ten day stretch coming to an end on Saturday. They really need to get either a W or a good come from behind draw to keep the momentum going for the rest of the season, which still has three months to go. They also need to recapture the early season penchant for at least controlling the early parts of matches, if not scoring in them, as there will be nights when it is not so easy to come from behind.
That all being said, it is a good time to be a Union Phan, and the phaithful really has to let them know they are behind the team in the two July road games.
The U finally have a home match on Saturday at 7:00, the back end of this away and home series. They get a week off before going back on the road to face Real salt Lake (7-8-2, 23 points, 8th Place Western Conference).