Though this #DecisionDay matchup may not have carried much weight, the Philadelphia Union ensured that their season finale would be memorable. On the brink of a tough offseason, the Union ended on a positive note by absolutely embarrassing a depleted Orlando City SC side, 6-1. Fafa Picault, Ilsinho, and CJ Sapong all notched braces.
From early on, the match looked well in hand for the Union. Just three minutes in, Ilsinho notched his fifth goal of the season from the top of the box off a perfectly driven cross from captain Alejandro Bedoya.
One goal would have been enough on a day where Orlando so meekly moved the ball. However, the Union were just getting started.
Three minutes later, the Union would add a second thanks to Fafa Picault. In the sixth minute, the speedy winger hopped up and connected with a deft cross by Ilsinho to put the Union up two goals.
Philly wasn’t done punishing a pathetic Orlando side just yet. CJ Sapong added to the Union lead in the first half. With the goal, he also broke Union great Sebastien Le Toux’s single-season goal record of 14 goals. In the 26th minute, a great individual run and cross by Picault left Sapong with nothing more to do than tap it in and celebrate.
With halftime approaching, Picault capitalized on a terrible attempt at a back-pass by Orlando fullback Scott Sutter to make a laughably bad day for Orlando City even worse. In the 38th minute, the winger completed the brace when he chased down Sutter’s errant pass and slid the ball through Orlando goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr’s legs to add a fourth goal.
Before the match started, longtime Union midfielder Brian Carroll announced his retirement from competition following the match on Sunday. To celebrate his service to the club, Carroll came on at halftime for one last time at central defensive midfielder. The Union with Carroll did not skip a beat in their last 45 minutes of the season.
“Congratulations to Brian Carroll,” said Jim Curtin after the match. “The door at the Philadelphia Union will always be open if he decides to duck out of the cubicle lifestyle he's moving into.”
Despite head coach Jason Kreis subbing out half of his starting defensive backline, the pathetic defending for Orlando continued on in the second half.
Carroll put the clamps on an already listless Orlando side as the Union continued to dominate OCSC on all fronts. The fun for the fans in attendance continued when, in the 63rd minute, the Union added a fifth. Ilsinho completed his brace on another Union breakaway set up by Haris Medunjanin.
Orlando eventually got on the board in 72nd minute, when Yoshimar Yotun connected with Dom Dwyer to crush the Union hope’s of keeping a shutout.
The Union added a sixth goal for good measure less than five minutes later as Sapong added another goal to his tally. In the 74th minute, Sapong muscled away a loose ball in the box from Edwards to get his 16th goal of the season and put the Union well ahead by five goals.
The home win was the Union’s tenth of the season. The Union finished their 2017 campaign 11-14-9, the same record as last year’s, but without the same result: a playoff berth.
Plenty of personnel decisions lie ahead for Jim Curtin, Earnie Stewart, and the Union brass. Players such as Charlie Davies, Ilsinho, Roland Alberg, Maurice Edu, and a few others have their contract statuses up in the air before the 2018 season kicks off. The Union, as they stand, will likely look fairly different. With the offseason upon the team, the quest for a place in the 2018 MLS Cup playoffs starts now.