closed door scrimmage vs Orlando City: The first test of phase three for Philadelhia Union

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The Union played in a closed door scrimmage vs Orlando City this past Wednesday. The scrimmage consisted of three 45 minute periods of play. As to be expected in any preseason match, there were ups and downs. The 135 minute exercise ended in a three-three draw. Let’s look at the good and the bad from the Union in the first test of phase three of preseason.

Good:

Goals!

The first was said to be a really good possession play. The ball worked up the field where Alejandro Bedoya found Jay Simpson next to the open net. His tap in gave the Union their first goal of the day! Their second goal was more of a magnificent individual effort.

Ilson Jr. found his shooting boots at the beginning of the second period, and oh my what an effort! The Brazilian winger checked inside, found the ball at the top of the box, took two touches and blasted a rocket into the top corner of the net. This is an effort the Union need more from Ilson Jr. if he wants to stay ahead of all the new-found depth the Union have at the wing position. The last goal came late, but it was another

There was not much said on the Union’s final goal of the day, other than unsigned draft pick Jack Elliot found CJ Sapong, who found the back of the net. However it happened, it’s just good that the Union are finding the back pf the net in games. The goals are great, but you may be asking what were the other good things from the game?

Bedoya and Medunjanin played together in the midfield.

The Union’s newcomer, Haris Medunjanin played 45 minutes in his second day with the team. He greatly impressed Jim Curtin who said, he played some good final balls to teammates, but no one finished the chances he created. for the 45 minutes Haris played next to Bedoya. Bedoya was the eight, and Medunjanin was the six. The crazy thing, according to Curtin, was that Medunjanin would get up the field and attack even at the six spot. This grouping could wreak havoc on opposing teams in the short-term.

With Edu, the teams starting six still rehabbing, Haris will probably start the season in the deeper spot. Bedoya then would start at the eight with Mo out. However the Union will probably play him as the 10 in upcoming preseason matches.

Onyewu singled himself out as a starter in Curtin’s eyes.

Veteran center back Oguchi Onyewu has all but secured the starting right center back role, since Josh Yaro will be out three-four months. Curtin has praised the giant center back for being very good in-game situations and working extremely hard to get up to speed with pace of the MLS game. It would be no surprise to see him on the pitch against Vancouver March 5th.

Mo Edu could join the team in Florida for some action.

Curtin also said that Edu could join the team in Florida for some action if he clears all his protocol. He is back running, but the Union hope to get him some actual playing time in preseason. I doubt, even with preseason playing time, that Edu would be ready to go for the first few games, but it would get him back in the swing of things, which would be a great benefit for the club!

Bad:

Defensive slip ups.

The Union struggled on all three goals they gave up. the first goal was off a throw in, everyone was frozen in place as Orlando walked into the box and found the back of the next simply. This is something that cannot happen in regular season, and it won’t. The players are still shaking off the rust, hopefully in Vancouver none of the players act like this defending a throw in deep in their own zone.

The second goal was one where Curtin thought keeper McCarthy could do a better job reading. The Union were caught on a break, and the defense sat deep to keep the shape. A long shot on goal came, since the attacker was given all sorts of time and space. The shot dipped at the last second, and bounced over the outstretched arm of McCarthy. This type of attempt will be handled differently in the regular season. Blake will be in-goal, and the defense will be able to adjust better to the break.

The final Orlando goal is one of controversy. Cyle Larin was in on goal and placed it past McCarthy. A whistle blew as the shot went off, one ref thought it was offside another thought it was a good goal. They considered it a goal. It’s really hard to tell, especially from the short video Orlando posted, but take a look for yourself and be the judge!

Not much else!

The Union did a great job in an uncharacteristically long match. A part from the few defensive mistakes, Philly did very well in the scrimmage! So what’s next for the Union?

Philly plays three more preseason games, and all are being streamed on the Tampa Bay Rowdies YouTube channel; these matches are a part of the Suncoast Invitational. We will get to see the Union players in action, as they take on more high-caliber opponents to get ready for the season. Be sure to check out Philly Sports Network to catch a preview of the first match against the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Also, follow me on twitter @TGing21 for live tweets of the matches. There’s only 16 days until the first regular season match! Get hype Union fans!

 

Mandatory Credit: Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

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