In a strange match, the Philadelphia Union and Orlando City SC finished even at two. After severe weather last night caused the game to be postponed until this afternoon, both teams appeared lethargic and sloppy. In the end, bookending goals from Marco Fabián and Kacper Przybyłko ensured a point from the home side, but a dominant Union side was disappointed not to take all three.
The Union started the game quick, with a perfectly placed header from Fabián in the fourth minute off a nice Fafa Picault cross. Despite their great start, they were unable to capitalize on their dominance in possession for the rest of the half.
The second half was more of the same for the Union, but Orlando was able to convert on two set-piece goals—a free-kick and a corner—to take the lead. Dom Dwyer found the equalizer with the back of his head in the 67th minute, acrobatically redirecting Nani’s service. In the 81st minute, Santiago Patiño put his side ahead on a corner after Blake spilled the ball right into his path.
Talen Energy Stadium was quiet for much of the second half, but was willed back to life in 90th minute when substitutes Matt Real and Anthony Fontana combined to put Kacper in behind. Kacper coolly curled it past Orlando goalkeeper Brian Rowe, who kept Orlando in the game with several big saves throughout the match. A few minutes later, Real connected on a cross to Jack Elliott, who put a strong header on frame, but Rowe stood on his head to deny the defender the winning goal.
Orlando came into this game down two starters (Sacha Kljestan and Robin Jansson due to red cards) and bunkered in early, placing eight guys deep behind the ball. They had only a single attacking chance from the run of play (a Dom Dwyer shot that Blake stonewalled), and are very lucky to be going home with a point considering what they were up against.
The Union had a different look today, with Jamiro Monteiro out with an ankle sprain and Marco Fabián returning to the starting lineup. Marco went 67 minutes, showing a good work rate and some attacking flair in his first start since May 11th. The midfield was more free-flowing, with players more prone to switching than we’ve seen in past games, but part of that was due to how deep Orlando sat today.
Aaronson had a nice game before being subbed off, playing multiple attackers into good positions, but the team looked flat for much of the match. His fellow academy products, Real and Fontana, provided a big spark off the bench which proved to be crucial to the Union getting a result today.
Aurélien Collin, who started in place of Auston Trusty, turned over the ball too many times, and Kai Wagner didn’t provide the attacking spark that we’re used to seeing on the left wing. On top of that, Santos showed very little off the bench to get him a spot in the 18 when everyone’s healthy, especially since new striker Andrew Wooten will be available for the next match.
Jim Curtin called it “a really disappointing day” in the post-match presser, and Kacper said that today felt like a loss. Overall, the result is disappointing, but not terrible thanks to Kacper’s 90th-minute strike. The team continues to struggle breaking down teams that bunker in, but four points out of six against Orlando is still positive and the Union are five points clear at the top of the East. They will look forward to no more two-game weeks until late September.
What did you think of today’s match? Let us know in the comments!