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Union see out Orlando to return to USOC semis

Bedoya’s goal has the Union within two wins of silverware.

MLS: U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinal-Philadelphia Union vs Orlando City SC Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

An early goal from Alejandro Bedoya was all the Union needed to overcome Orlando City SC on Wednesday night. The home team cruised comfortably to victory, keeping possession and thoroughly controlling the game in the 86 minutes following Bedoya’s opener.

A well-worked corner put the Union in front early. Mark McKenzie connected perfectly with Haris Medunjanin’s far-post ball, smacking off Earl Edwards Jr’s hands. The ‘keeper could only manage to slap McKenzie’s effort right to Bedoya, who could not have been happier to blast it into the net.

From there, the well-rested Union looked in control against an Orlando team that had a league game on Saturday. The Union fielded a reserve-heavy side in their friendly with Eintracht Frankfurt over the weekend, so they were able to field their first team on Wednesday night. Haris Medunjanin and Alejandro Bedoya stood out as two top performers, as they worked hard without the ball, completed the majority of their passes, and combined for the goal.

The Union threatened to expand their lead throughout the first half and into the second, as the front three of Fafa Picault, Cory Burke, and David Accam managed to create opportunities at will.

Picault came the closest of the three in the 80th minute. The winger picked up a horizontal pass from Alejandro Bedoya and burst by Donny Toia before hitting a shot that rolled only feet wide.

Will Johnson came close a couple of times for the Lions, whistling a shot just over the bar and forcing Andre Blake into action with a header. The 37th-minute header was the better of the opportunities, as Johnson ran off Haris Medunjanin’s back shoulder to connect with a lofted ball from Uri Rosell. Despite having plenty of space, Johnson couldn’t get great contact on the header and sent it too near to Blake.

The visitors’ best chance to equalize came in the 83rd minute, when Sacha Kljestan looped a first-time shot into Andre Blake’s arms. Orlando only managed to put four shots on target, and that weak effort was the best of the four of them.

The Union will either take on the Chicago Fire or Louisville City FC in the semifinals of the U.S. Open Cup. A draw will be held tomorrow to determine who hosts. This is the Union’s fifth Open Cup semifinals appearance since 2012, a feat that would only be matched by Chicago were they to defeat Louisville. Neither the Union nor the Fire have managed to win the Open Cup during that time period.