Game: Orlando City SC vs. Philadelphia Union
Time: 7:30 PM EST, 6:30 CST, 4:30 PM PST, 12:30 AM UTC
Venue: Orlando City Stadium
Television: The Comcast Network, TV27 (Central Florida)
Streaming: MLS Live (Subscription Only)
Referees: REF: FOTIS BAZAKOS AR1: CJ Morgante AR2: Danny Thornberry 4TH: Silviu Petrescu
All-time Record: 2-1-2, 0 GD
What Orlando will look like:
Orlando opened up their new digs two weeks ago with a bittersweet win over expansion club twinsies New York City FC. Sweet given they’ve opened up their grand cathedral of soccer to a victory, but bitter due to the fact they’ve lost their star player in Kaka for almost two months.
It’s a big blow for the club, and it will be nearly impossible to replace someone like him. Orlando City however will feel hard pressed to envision a loss at home against Philadelphia. Cyle Larin is still as clinical a striker as ever and will take no chance to score lightly. Without Kaka, service may slow a little bit but there will be no shortage of chances for the player nicknamed “Canadian Messi”.
Other dangerous attackers include Carlos Rivas and Matias Perez Garcia. Both of these players will look to antagonize the right side of the Union defense.
What Philadelphia will look like:
The Union feel they were unjustly dealt a draw given the most recent edition of the Mark Geiger experience. From my perspective, it’s a lesson learned for a young midfielder in Derrick Jones. While it was a light penalty, there was enough of a reason there for Geiger to award it.
The Union looked above average in the first half of their most recent match against Toronto FC. Despite losing Jay Simpson for much of the match, the Union continued to create chances. A sloppy second half left lingering questions moving onto their match against Orlando. Another road trip will call for another big performance from Jones and the backline. The pressure will mount continuously as Orlando will still be feeling the effects of that new stadium smell.
What to expect:
Both of these sides feel evenly matched, but a bend don’t break philosophy will likely follow Philadelphia down to the Sunshine State. I expect this match to look similar to the Union’s season opener against Vancouver. Orlando will still have urgency to impress at Orlando City Stadium and the Union will struggle to match the intensity.
There’s a possibility without Kaka that Orlando will still be looking to find themselves offensively. These moments of uncertainty need to be taken full advantage of by the Union should they want to see a result.
Projected lineup: GK: Andre Blake; LB: Fabinho, LCB: Oguchi Oneywu, RCB: Richie Marquez, RB: Keegan Rosenberry; CDM: Haris Medunjanin, CDM: Derrick Jones; LM: Chris Pontius, CAM: Alejandro Bedoya, RM: Fabian Herbers; ST: CJ Sapong
Result: 1-0 Orlando City