This is not what the Philadelphia Union had hoped for when they made the trip to Orlando this weekend. Their first win of the season would have been euphoric, and a road draw against an as yet undefeated team would have been satisfying. But neither of those came to fruition as the result they got was their second all-time loss to Orlando City SC, a 2-1 defeat at the brand new Orlando City Stadium.
Orlando maintained control for much of the start of the match, although the Union did have two highlight reel chances, one on Orlando’s goal, and the other on their own goal. Chris Pontius played a ball into the box headed for C.J. Sapong, however Jonathan Spector slid in the way and disrupted what appeared to be a golden opportunity for the Union to take the lead. Meanwhile on the other end, Oguchi Onyewu’s attempted clearance off a high arcing ball deflected off the cross bar and away from goal. Had it gone in, it would have been a most-stunning own goal, but luckily the deflection went the Union’s way this time.
Orlando turned their control of possession into a goal in the 39th minute. Receiving a long ball, Carlos Rivas converted it into a cross into the box. On the end of that cross? Cyle Larin, unmarked, who completed his run with an easy tap-in goal for the match’s opener.
It would take until after the half time break for the Union to even the ledger, although not long after. Less than 10 minutes into the second half, Keegan Rosenberry sprung Fabian Herbers along the right side. Herbers bent in a cross that Alejandro Bedoya got a piece of directing it in the air in C.J. Sapong’s direction. Sapong then used his head to direct the ball towards goal and past Joe Bendik, tying the game at 1 in the second half, giving Union fans a temporary hope they’d be able to pull out at least a point in this match.
Unfortunately for the Union though, they would not be able to hold on to the point. Later on in the second half in the 73rd minute, Matias Perez Garcia played through Larin. Blake charged up to make himself larger for Larin, but Larin was still able to one-touch it past the Union keeper giving Larin his second goal of the evening Orlando a lead they would not relinquish on the evening, although they would come close.
The Union had a couple of amazing opportunities to once again even the match in stoppage time. With the Union pressuring Orlando, Ilsinho fired a shot that rattled off the inside of the post but ever so unfortunately bounced still bounced parallel to the goalline and away from the netting. But the Union picked up a rebound and seconds later Fafa Picault sent in a cross to Bedoya who directed a header on goal but Bendik made a brilliant save to prevent the Union from stealing a point at the death.
Up next, the Philadelphia will enjoy a brief international break before getting back to work for a road match in two weeks against D.C. United.