US Open Cup Quarter Finals: Philadelphia Union vs Orlando City SC for spot in Semi Finals


For the first time since 2016 the Philadelphia Union are playing for the chance to be in the final four of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. The US Open Cup Quarter Finals presents a huge opportunity for the Union to make a run for a trophy. In their way is Orlando City SC. The Lions have been up and down all year. They came into Talen Energy Stadium back in April and blanked the Union 2-0. Since that time, Orlando went on a long losing streak, fired their coach, and hired a new one. They are coming off of their first win since May 6th, and are looking to best the Union once again.

For the Union to make their way to the Semi Finals, they were need to keep their confidence, realize the vastness of this opportunity, and utilize their fresh legs! If they do this they will win, and move on to the Semi Finals of the US Open Cup!

Keeping the confidence

The Union have been an up and down team, like Orlando. However the Union’s hot and cold streaks have had a direct correlation to their confidence. When the side is confident in their attacking buildup play, and their overall shape, then they have looked like a great side. When their confidence is shaken, the Union look disorganized in the attack which makes their shape break. This causes them to look like the bad team that they have played like from time to time!

After their nerve-wracking win over Chicago Fire, and their confidence boosting win over Eintracht Frankfurt, the Union’s confidence and play is where they would want it to be. Philadelphia will have to tap into that confidence as they take on Orlando City.

Orlando’s recent struggles will be their motivator, as they try to make a deep run in a Cup competition. A long US Open Cup run could be the only thing to salvage their struggling 2018 season. The Union’s confidence will have to be unwavering if they want to take advantage of this huge opportunity.

The opportunity at hand

The players know what it would mean to bring an US Open Cup Championship to Philly. While past Union teams have come close to lifting a trophy, the majority of the current Philadelphia Union team has not had the opportunity to play in a game of this magnitude.

This opportunity is one where Philadelphia can throw off some of their critiques of their season so far. That, and the chance to be one game away from playing for a trophy, will be enough to make the players aware of what they are playing for. A huge game at home, against a struggling team looking to right their wrongs, awaits Philadelphia.

Orlando have the same opportunity as Philadelphia, but have the disadvantage of having this huge game jam-packed in between crucial MLS games. While Orlando just got a win against Toronto, they had to rely on their starters to do so. The Union have the benefit of home field advantage, and having rested some of their starters over this past weekend.

Rested and ready to go

Even though the Union played a friendly against Eintracht Frankfurt, they still rested the majority of their starters. Orlando Played a league game against Toronto on the weekend that was crucial to their MLS hopes. They won the match, but at the cost of having their starters play a long game in the humidity of Orlando.

Now the Union look to use their rested legs and home field advantage to take advantage of the opportunity at hand. The Union know how they want to play against Orlando; they want things to go business as usual.

If the Union can dictate the possession through Haris Medunjanin and Borek Dockal, then they will be able to exploit Orlando’s defense by playing their attackers in behind. When Philly lose the ball, they’ll look to pressure Orlando’s central midfielders to keep the ball away from Meram, Kljestan and Dwyer. The Union do this then they’ll be on their way to victory!

The Union are up for the Cup!

While Orlando City pose a threat to Philadelphia, the Union are ready to make a run for the US Open Cup. Tonight they will field a strong lineup to bet Orlando. There will be a major change on the right-wing, as Ilsinho is dealing with an injury. Look for David Accam to step up, and try to keep the confidence he has going for him after his game winning goal at Chicago last week. I expect the Union to field this lineup:

Starters: Blake; Gaddis, Trusty, McKenzie, Rosenberry; Medunjanin, Bedoya; Picault, Dockal, Accam; Burke.

Bench: McCarthy; Fabinho, Elliot; Creavalle, Jones, Epps; Sapong.

This lineup is primed with confidence, they understand the opportunity, and the majority are rested and ready to move on to the next round. Look for Creavalle, Epps, and Sapong to come on as the three subs.

Prediction: With how things are going for both clubs, I can see a winner being found in 90 minutes. I think the Union’s confidence will not be shaken by Orlando. This is the moment that will help this Union team make a run for the Cup.

Philadelphia Union will win this one by a score of 2-1!

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Peace out Union fans!

Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports