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Union 2-1 Orlando: Barnetta's stunner steals all three points

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The Union rise to the top of the Eastern Conference thanks to a perfect free kick from Tranquillo Barnetta.

Trey Madara

The Philadelphia Union defeated a short-handed Orlando City 2-1 on Friday night. Tranquillo Barnetta's upper-90 free kick broke the deadlock late in the 90th minute. CJ Sapong and Adrian Winter scored for their respective sides in the first half.

The home side struck first, thanks to a horrific failed clearance from Rafael Ramos. The Brazilian left back couldn't deal with a low ball from Keegan Rosenberry that rolled across the face of goal. His attempted clearance didn't even make it out of the six-yard box. CJ Sapong was more than happy to guide the errant ball home, scoring at the far post for his third goal of the season.

Soon after the Union took the lead in the second minute, Orlando City began to find their way into the match. They eventually evened it up in 43rd minute via an Adrian Winter strike. The Swiss midfielder received a ball from Kevin Molino and sent his first touch--either accidentally or very nonchalantly--over the head of Keegan Rosenberry. He sent his second touch past Andre Blake, who found himself in no man's land as Winter's perfect finish rolled past him.

Tranquillo Barnetta, who was not fit to start in place of the injured Ilsinho, came off the bench to give his side all three points. Just sit back and watch what will go down as one of the finest Union goals of all time.

The game was not won yet, though, as Orlando pushed for an equalizer throughout stoppage time. Their best chance came a right after Barnetta's strike. Adrian Winter unleashed a shot headed toward the near post, but Andre Blake made a fantastic reaction save to preserve the lead.

If it weren't for Adrian Winter, Blake would not have had much to do on the night. The Orlando winger previously tested Blake earlier in the second half. After some nice combination play from Adrian Winter and Kaka at the top of the box, the former teed off on a shot from 12 yards. His effort wasn't strong enough to beat Andre Blake, who denied him for his only save of the day.

Sapong also came close to notching a brace in the second half. His second chance came in the 53rd minute. A wonky touch from Sebastien Le Toux somehow found its way past the Orlando backline and into the path of a streaking Sapong. His sliding effort was met by Joe Bendik, who used his body to keep the score level.

With the win, the Union now sit atop the Eastern Conference. If Montreal don't win this weekend, they'll certainly stay there until next week.

Notes:

  • Ilsinho was a late scratch from the matchday roster. The flashy midfielder picked up a hamstring injury and is considered day-to-day.
  • Chris Pontius continues to make a case for a permanent spot in the starting eleven. He's now started in all five of the Union's games and put on a great performance on Friday night. A sharp cutback opened up space for him to shoot in the 38th minute, but he was denied by Orlando 'keeper Joe Bendik. He created a couple of good opportunities as well, chipping a ball into Sapong in the 45th and keeping a corner alive in the 69th.
  • Jair Marrufo really let the boys play, overlooking countless contentious encounters. He only issued one yellow card--to Fabinho in the 30th minute.