On a cold, blustery night at Talen Energy Stadium, the Philadelphia Union defeated Orlando City SC 2-1 on national television and reclaimed first place in the Eastern Conference.
The first XI: Andre Blake, Fabinho, Ken Tribbett, Richie Marquez, Keegan Rosenberry, Brian Carroll, Vincent Nogueira, Sebastien Le Toux, Roland Alberg, Chris Pontius, CJ Sapong
The Union opened scoring in the second minute when CJ Sapong slid home a missed clearance on a Keegan Rosenberry cross which bounced around in the box for his third goal of the year. The U owned possession for much of the early part of the half but couldn’t put another past Orlando keeper Joe Bendik. Orlando started earning some corners and eventually settled in on the counter, playing a false 9 with Kaka. They eventually pulled even in the 43rd minute when Adrian Winter took a pass from Kevin Molino, took a delightful touch, and beat Union keeper Andre Blake. The half ended 1-1.
The boys in blue and Lions traded possession back and forth in the second half, both being rather loose with the ball. Tranquillo Barnetta and Fabian Herbers entered in the 63rd minute for Roland Alberg and Sebastien Le Toux respectively, and had an immediate impact, with Barnetta creating and Herbers causing problems and winning balls. The Union started creating more chances and drawing fouls as the half wore on, eventually earning a couple Barnetta corners and a free kick at the top of the box, but to no avail. Orlando continued to be dangerous on the counter however, and Kaka found himself with space to create and shoot more than the Union would have liked.
In the dying moments of regulation, CJ Sapong earned a foul at the top of the Lions box which set up a free kick from Barnetta from 25 yards out:
All the drama was not yet out of the game however as Winter hit a volley inside the box two minutes into stoppage and only a tremendous save by Andre Blake saved two points for the Union. The home side saw the match out from there and earned all three points, putting them alone atop the Eastern Conference if but for a night.
-Ilsinho did not appear and was not in the 18 for the Union as he picked up a late knock, a hamstring injury which has him day-to-day
-Fabinho picked up a yellow card in the 30th minute for unsporting behavior
-The Union win stops Orlando’s unbeaten start to the season. Orlando City SC has never beaten the Union, going 0-2-1 against them.
Editor’s note: an earlier version of the story listed Fabian Herbers as the winner of the foul which set up Barnetta’s free kick. It was actually CJ Sapong.