Ilsinho put the Philadelphia Union up in the 68th minute on a goal against the run of play but the boys in blue were unable to hold onto the lead or grab first place in Group A with a 1-1 draw against Orlando City Monday night.
The Union looked sharp from the opening kickoff, moving the ball around and finding space to operate but they found a formidable opponent in Orlando City that limited the Union’s chances inside the box and put together several bright attacking moments of their own.
Andre Blake continued his strong form with another dazzling display, knocking down two successive chances in the box at the hour mark when he was quick off his line to stop Jhegson Méndez with an initial shot and prevent Chris Mueller from getting off a shot on the follow.
“He’s been our sharpest player to start the competition,” head coach Jim Curtin said of Blake. “You need that in knockout type games; you need your goalkeeper to be going and be hot so he’s playing at a really high level right now.”
Blake’s biggest stop of the night came in the 67th minute when he was able to get a fingertip on a header from Antônio Carlos off a corner and tip it off the crossbar. Earlier he made himself big to cut down a driven shot from Tesho Akindele. He finished with six saves on the night and 16 for the first three games of the tournament.
Offensively, the Union only created four shot attempts in the box. Sergio Santos had a pair of shots off target and did well to fight for a ball in the box and create a chance for Brenden Aaronson, but his shot went wide of the mark. Kacper Przybylko had just one shot attempt on the night from about 30 yards out.
“We were a little bit off with the final pass,” Curtin said. “But overall, you have to give credit to Orlando too, they played a very good game.”
The goal finally came yet again from Brenden Aaronson creating off the ball, taking a pass down the left side of the field from Kai Wagner and cutting across toward the middle before leaving it off to Alejandro Bedoya, who set up Ilsinho for a shot from an angle on the right side of the box he was able to tuck inside the far post.
“That’s the shot, you see him do it all the time in training,” Bedoya said. “You just try to get the ball to him and he takes a touch and just rips it off the back post.”
Aaronson was credited with his second assist of the season and is as many games on the play, but he’s now been heavily involved in all but one of the Union’s seven goals in 2020. The bomb from Jakob Glesnes against LAFC is the lone exception.
Warren Creavalle earned the start in place of the suspended Jose Martinez but was replaced by defender Jakob Glesnes, giving Jack Elliott a chance to play as the No. 6 for the final 17 minutes of the game. That Elliott played the 6 over Matej Oravec — who still has not made his MLS debut — is both telling and also somewhat confounding.
Curtin used just three of the allotted five subs in the match, using one to sub a defender (Glesnes) in for a midfielder (Creavalle) and another to sub in a defender (Matt Real) for a midfielder (Aaronson) despite having the likes of Anthony Fontana, Jack de Vries and the aforementioned Oravec available.