The Philadelphia Union finished a three-match road trip with a bang Wednesday night defeating Orlando City SC 3-1 in what turned out to be an easy victory.
Kacper Przybylko and Fafa Picault continued their offensive production as a striker duo by scoring all three goals in the first of two straight against Orlando City SC.
Przybylko scored his seventh and eighth MLS goals and has now scored four goals in the last three Union matches (scoring in all three). Picault netted his third goal while Jamiro Monteiro dazzled throughout the midfield earning two assists before being taken out from behind by Orlando’s Sacha Kljestan. Kljestan was brandished a red card as Monteiro rolled in agony during the 67th minute.
Klejstan wasn’t the only recipient of a red card for Orlando Wednesday. Center back Robin Jansson was shown red moments before the first half whistle when he was beaten by Picault. Jansson decided to go to ground from behind and clipped Picault’s ankles in the process. At first a yellow was issued but the VAR decided to go with a red – a smart decision.
The red to Jansson dramatically changed the match, as expected.
Orlando jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the eight minute when Philadelphia failed to clear their lines effectively. Chris Mueller jumped on a loose ball, darted forward, and left both Jack Elliot and Matt Freese flat-footed with a perfectly weighted right-footed shot for the goal.
Przybylko’s first goal occurred in the 32nd minute, which helped Philadelphia regain footing in the match. Przybylko received a beautiful pass from Monteiro and wasted no time in finding the back of the net.
The Jansson’s foolish decision to go to ground occurred and the flood gates opened.
Through the first seven minutes of the second half, Philadelphia created two goals. First, Przybylko finished off what was perhaps one of Philadelphia’s prettiest goals of the season to date. Haris Medunjanin floated a ball deep into the box where Alejandro Bedoya was there to volley a pass back to Przybylko. Przybylko was alone and rocketed it home.
Five minutes later, Picault entered his name on the scoring sheet. Monteiro and Aaronson combined nicely just atop the goal box which allowed Aaronson to navigate into a small pocket of space just above Orlando’s backline. Aaronson received a pass with his back to goal, quickly turned, and then slotted a pass forward where Picault ran onto it and blasted it into the top netting for the third and final goal.
The win was the 10th on the year for Head Coach Jim Curtin. It was also the first time in franchise history Philadelphia won on the road at Orlando.
But perhaps more importantly, Wednesday night’s victory was the first for Delaware County native Freese in his MLS career. The confidence a young goal keeper can gather from seeing the first W appear in the win column can almost be valued at priceless.
Couple the good news for Freese with the morale boost that normally follows an offensive explosion like the one for Philadelphia tonight, and you have a dangerous team atop the Eastern Conference table moving forward.
All eyes now turn to this Saturday’s re-match against Orlando. Of course, both Jansson and Kljestan will be suspended, but can Philadelphia capitalize on the quick turnaround? Time will tell as always, but Curtin and his staff have a great opportunity to capitalize on a six-point swing this weekend.
Oh, and it’s firework night. So tune in.
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Peace out Union fans!
Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports