The Union went down to Orlando in a match that had huge implications on the eastern conference standings right around the halfway point of the season. The Union played well but came up short yet again thanks to sloppy mistakes. Philly falls in a 2-1 loss at Orlando, but there’s no reason to think this was a bad loss.
2-1 loss at Orlando
After about an hour and a half delay, this match finally got underway and it did not disappoint. In an environment where the Union typically struggles, they did not this evening despite the 2-1 loss.
If you watched or listened to the Doop By The River podcast this week, which you all should have, you will know that I am a genius. I predicted a 2-1 loss at Orlando but with a great performance by the Union and after 90 minutes both claims came to fruition.
Union mistakes lead to goals
The Union started off sluggish which isn’t out of character lately. After a moment of switching off, they conceded in the 10th minute. Michel got lost in the midfield shuffle, caught Mbaizo ball watching, snuck in past the backline, and finished the play with a tidy shot into the far bottom corner. The following 35 minutes were a mix of the Union responding well to the goal and fairly even play with some chances for each team but nothing much came of it.
The second half was where the game got very exciting. There was a litany of chances from either side with the Union slowly finding their footing into the match. Before they could get on the scoresheet, however, Orlando doubled their advantage. In the 59th minute, Perea put in a fantastic glancing header off a pinpoint cross from none other than Nani. This means that both shots on target from Orlando ended up in goals.
Union come alive again
After the second Orlando goal, the game was all Union from there on out. Not nine minutes after Orlando’s second KacperPrzybylko scored a fantastic goal off a cross from Mbaizo who was streaking down the right-wing. He crossed it low to the top of the box where Kacper was lying in wait to finish the ball first time into the bottom right corner. Many chances for the Union followed but unfortunately, nothing came of it.
Their best chance to equalize came late on in the second half when Jack Elliot of all people showed off some fancy footwork inside the 18-yard box before slotting a shot towards the bottom right corner. Gallese came up with a great reaction save pushing the ball to an eager Jack Mcglynn. He played a fantastic first-time ball to Quinn Sullivan who was waiting on the back post. His shot was blocked off the line by the face of Orlando defender Kyle Smith. This is where the game ended with the Union outshooting Orlando 18-5 with 6 on target to Orlando’s 2. Possession was basically even at 51-49 in favor of the Union.
There’s reason for optomism
What was always going to be a difficult match turned into one that actually encouraged me as a fan (I feel like I am in the minority with this take). Even though the result did not go our way we did learn some things.
For instance, Ale Bedoya’s age is starting to slowly show. Leon Flach should always be playing because Jose Martinez struggles in possession. Dániel Gazdag is as entertaining as advertised. WE STILL NEED A GOAL SCORER!!!
Now I know some of these are negatives but understanding weaknesses as fans are just as important as saying Jim Curtin understands them. We need to realize that our team is not perfect. Even with these imperfections, this team can succeed with a little tweaking and probably a signing or two.
I am looking forward to seeing what Jim Curtin does to tweak the system, and what Ernst Tanner does to bolster the squad. But enough with Orlando. Let’s move on to Miami and hope for a similar performance (hopefully with no weather delays this time) but a better result!
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Mandatory Credit: PHILADELPHIA UNION, ANDREW ZWARYCH