Orlando City vs. Philadelphia Union: Five Takeaways

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Good. This one got a little out of control, didn’t it? A rotating Orlando City side were blown up 5-1 by the Philadelphia Union in Pennsylvania, ending a five-game winning streak for the Lions. While the result wasn’t all that surprising, it was still hard to watch, so kudos to you if you watched it for 90 minutes. The following are my five takeaways from a tough night on the road.

Grandpa rings the changes

As expected after a win on Wednesday at the US Open Cup and with two important home games looming, Oscar Pareja hasn’t been shy about rotating his squad and resting the lads. The exact manner of the rotation was a little surprising in places, however. One of the biggest surprises was Mason Stajduhar replacing Pedro Gallese in goal as El Pulpo weren’t even on the bench. Other changes were Wilder Cartagena, Andres Perea, Nicholas Gioacchini and Benji Michel, all named in the starting line-up as Papi seemed to prioritize next week’s games over a road game against the team of first place in the East.

End-to-end stuff early

Orlando did not miss opportunities early in the game. The Lions netted a fine free-kick minutes into the game, but Antonio Carlos missed a bicycle kick and nothing came of it. After 10 minutes, Mauricio Pererya fired a fierce push towards goal after Andre Blake hit a cross from Jake Mulraney but was blocked in his path. After a quarter of an hour, Michel was as close as he could get to a through ball that would have put him in goal, only for Union to take the ball at the other end and put it in the net courtesy of Julian. Carranza. Although that goal was disallowed for offside, it was a harbinger of things to come, and one that Orlando sadly overlooked.

Another Facial in Philadelphia

Fans still furious at the elbow Rodrigo Schlegel took in the face of Kacper Przybylko last year at Subaru Park – who hasn’t been called – must have had a case of deja vu on Saturday night when Jose Martinez kicked header to Wilder Cartagena early in the game. Since he was behind the play, it’s understandable that the referee didn’t see him. The game is said to have gone through the review process with the video assistant referee in the booth, but nothing was given to Martinez. As the camera angle available via the broadcast was from behind, the only logical explanation for there being no straight red is that the back of Martinez’s head is blocking video evidence of contact being made. However, just the attempt at a headbutt should have attracted…Something.

The hot-headed Martinez is no stranger to suspension, but got nothing for it, nor for a reckless, clumsy, and from behind challenge moments later on Andres Perea in transition. It’s fair to say that Orlando had a better chance of getting something out of the game if the Lions had been a man for more than 70 minutes and it stings that it happened on two consecutive trips to Philadelphia. Maybe the league needs to mandate a few more camera angles at Subaru Park.

Reduced margins in the first half

As mentioned in the section above, Benji was close to getting behind the defense with a chance to go 1v1 with the goalkeeper, but it didn’t happen. Union’s opening goal was the result of equally meager margins as an Olivier Mbaizo shot was deflected past Joao Moutinho and just over a leaping Mason Stajduhar at the far post. It looked like Mason might have had time to take a few steps before jumping out to try and save, but as crazy as the carom was, it would be hard to nitpick too much. Stajduhar got a leg on Mikael Uhre’s goal but it just wasn’t enough to keep him out of the net. Just like that, the Lions found themselves trailing 2-0 before half-time and things weren’t going to improve after the break.

When it rains, it pours

Once the first two goals came in quick succession, there was always a risk of things getting out of hand. It was imperative that Orlando come out of halftime, start well and get a foothold in the game to prevent things from getting really out of control. Initially, things seemed to be going well in this direction, as the OCSC started the half with great energy and made inroads in the final third of Philly. Unfortunately, Union received a rather mild penalty just eight minutes into the restart, and once Daniel Gazdag dispatched it, the risk of a blowout became very real. That specter materialized once Alejandro Bedoya’s diving header found the back of the net, although a flare from Perea made the scoreline slightly more palatable…until Jack Elliott got one. another with two minutes to go. The Union have racked up big scores on most of the teams they play these days, and unfortunately for Orlando, it was no different on Saturday night.


This result absolutely stings. It’s hard to go from as high as winning the cup final on Wednesday to being beaten 5-1. But at a time of the season when the matches follow one another, it is necessary to privilege some compared to others. It happened to be one that wasn’t quite as high on the totem pole, and as long as the Lions can get the results this week, I can take it. Forward and upward, and vamos Orlando.

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