Philadelphia Union take first ever win in Orlando

After a promising start Orlando City SC fell 3-1 to the MLS Eastern Conference leaders Philadelphia Union on Wednesday night at Exploria Stadium.

Chris Mueller opened the scoring in the match in the eighth minute, his fifth goal of the 2019 season, with a superb finish to his pacy solo run from the half way line to slot past Matt Freese in the Union goal. Philadelphia responded in the 32nd minute as Orlando allowed the visitors far too much space and Kacper Przybylko finished with a nifty cutback after taking a pass from Jamiro Monteiro.

The Lions were then shown the first of two red cards, their first of the year, in the 43rd minute as Robin Jansson took down Fafa Picault with a poor tackle from behind as the forward was making his way to goal. Referee Chris Penso initially gave Jansson a yellow card, but he changed it to a red after reviewing it and deciding that Jansson had denied a clear goal-scoring opportunity. Jansson, who has played all but two of Orlando’s games this season, will now miss the rematch in Philadelphia on Saturday.

Orlando then withdrew former Manchester United winger Nani at halftime as Head Coach James O’Connor decided to shore up his defence by introducing Kamal Miller. The plan lasted less than two minutes before the Union scored their second as Alejandro Bedoya did well to cut a ball back from the end line and Przybylko fired home. Five minutes later The U added a third as Fafa Picault smashed home a drive from a neat pass by Brenden Aaronson.

If that wasn’t game over for Orlando then it most certainly was in the 67th minute as Sacha Kljestan (pictured above) made a dreadful lunging challenge on Jamiro Monteiro to earn a straight red for serious foul play. It took Monteiro a few minutes to recover from the challenge that might have broken his leg and while he tried to continue, it became impossible and he was substituted out in the 72nd minute.

What happened after that only the Union players and their Head Coach Jim Curtin (pictured above) will know as the visitors failed to press home their two man advantage. Instead of going for goal, the visitors seemed to enjoy just passing the ball around and only taking pot shots from distance at the Orlando net. It was strange to watch as prior to that, Philadelphia looked a big threat and the fact they settled for a 3-1 scoreline was puzzling.

After the game, Orlando Head Coach Jame O’Connor said : “We started the game really brightly and got a goal and then after the goal it felt like we needed to do a better job of maintaining possession. We allowed them [Philadelphia] to come back into the game a little bit. They scored a goal but then I think, obviously, the sending off has a major impact. I haven’t seen it back yet, but I think that completely changes the game…Then we’re down another man. I think, obviously, the game was completely impacted by the sendings off.”

The Lions now face another quick turnaround when they head to Philadelphia to face the Union for the second time in four days on Saturday, July 6. Kickoff for that match is set for 7 p.m. ET at Talen Energy Stadium.

Lineups/Substitutions:

Orlando City SC – GK Brian Rowe; D Danilo Acosta (Shane O’Neill 61’), Robin Jansson, Lamine Sané, Ruan; M Sacha Kljestan, Sebastián Méndez, Will Johnson; F Nani © (Kamal Miller 46’), Tesho Akindele, Chris Mueller (Dom Dwyer 61’)

Substitutes Not Used: GK Greg Ranjitsingh; D Kyle Smith, Carlos Ascues; F Benji Michel

Philadelphia Union – GK Matt Freese; D Kai Wagner, Auston Trusty, Jack Elliott, Raymon Gaddis; M Brenden Aaronson (Marco Fabian 65’), Haris Medunjanin, Alejandro Bedoya; F Fafa Picault (Anthony Fontana 82’), Jamiro Monteiro (Sergio Santos 73’), Kacper Przybylko

Substitutes Not Used: GK Carlos Miguel Coronel; D Aurelien Collin, Fabinho, RJ Allen

Attendance: 22,364

More photos at : www.FloridaLeisurePhotography.com

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