Union lose third straight home match in 3-2 loss vs Orlando

For just the second time in club history and the first time since 2012, The Philadelphia Union have lost 3 consecutive games at home after falling to Orlando City by a score of 3-2. Union jumped out to an early lead thanks to Mikael Uhre, the first time the Blue and Gold have scored the opening goal in 5 games, but 3 unanswered goals from the visitors put Union in a hole they couldn’t dig themselves out of, ultimately extending Union’s winless streak to 5 games.

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

Union Starting XI

We knew coming into this game that Julian Carranza would miss out due to yellow card suspension, as well as Olivier Mbiazo and Andre Blake to injury. Because of that, Curtin needed to make a few changes to his starting XI once again. Here’s how Union lined up against Orlando City on Saturday night:

GK: Oliver Semmle
RB: Nathan Harriel, CB: Jakob Glesnes, CB: Damion Lowe, LB: Kai Wagner
CDM: Jose Martinez
RCM: Ale Bedoya, LCM: Jack McGlynn
CAM: Daniel Gazdag
ST: Quinn Sullivan, ST: Mikeal Uhre

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

Mikael Uhre gets Union on the board early

12 minutes into the game and Union found themselves with an opportunity to get a look on net via a corner kick. Wagner’s offering into the box was cleared away by Orlando but kept in the area by Union’s Jose Martinez, who played the ball out wide to recycle the attacking opportunity. McGlynn played the ball into the middle of the field for Nate Harriel, who took a few touches and then played the ball into the box for Mikael Uhre. Uhre collected the ball, hesitated, and then fired the shot past Gallese with his right foot to give Union a 1-0 lead early in the game.

The early goal from Uhre not only marks the first time in 6 games that Union has scored the opening goal of a game, but It’s Uhre’s first goal since he scored as a sub against Atlanta on April 14th – 4 games prior.

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

Gazdag nearly doubles Union’s lead

Just minutes after Uhre opened the scoring at Subaru Park, Daniel Gazdag almost beat Gallese to put Union up 2-0 before the 15th minute. Mikael Uhre was fed the ball in the box with his defender on his back by Jack MgClynn. With his back turned to goal, Uhre laid the ball off for an on-rushing Daniel Gazdag who put his first touch on net, but Pedro Gallese made a strong save to keep the game 1-1.

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

Duncan McGuire Equalizes with a free header inside the 6-yard box

In the 20th minute of the game and down 1-0, Orlando took advantage of a quickly taken throw-in deep in Union’s half. Nicolas Lodeiro collected the ball near the end line and whipped in a left-footed cross. The ball into the 6-yard box fell perfectly between Jakob Glesnes and Damion Lowe for an uncontested header, which McGuire smashed passed Semmle to draw the game level.

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

Jose Martinez’s error leads to Luis Muriel’s goal

With the game level at 1 and half-time approaching, Orlando was handed a gift by Jose Martinez and the Union when an errant pass sent Orlando on the attack inside the Union’s attacking third. Union actually had more defenders back than Orlando had in attack, but Luis Muriel was left with too much space outside the penalty area and ripped in a left-footed screamer, scoring his first MLS goal and putting Orlando up 2-1 before halftime.

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

Muriel makes it 3-1 early in 2nd half

Coming out of the half-time break and looking to get back on level terms, you’d expect Union to start the 2nd half with energy and conviction. But just 20 seconds into it, Lodeiro played a through-ball behind Union’s backline which sent Luis Muriel in on net. Glesnes did his best to track back and disrupt the attempt from Muriel, but the Colombian got the right-footed shot off and placed it in the far bottom corner to Semmle’s right side. 3-1 Orlando before most fans even made it back to their seats. Frustration set in, both in the stands and the pitch. Philly players lobbied for the play to be called offside, but it was deemed a good goal.

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

Gazdag’s PK gets Union within 1

Just after the hour mark, Union was handed a lifeline back into the game via a penalty committed by Orlando. A handball in the box put Daniel Gazdag on the penalty spot with an opportunity to bring Union within 1, and Philadelphia’s new all-time leading scorer made no mistake, putting the ball right down the middle and beating Gallese. #58 for Gazdag in a Union shirt, and just over 20 minutes for Philly to find an equalizer.

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

Gallese gets back at Gazdag

With time winding down, it looked like the comeback kids were going to do it again after Nathan Harriel drew a penalty in the 85th minute, but Pedro Gallese made a diving stop on Daniel Gazdag’s PK attempt to keep Orlando up 3-2. It’s just the first time Daniel Gazdag has missed a Penalty Kick from open play in 29 attempts(MLS Cup was a Penalty Shootout, not a Penalty Kick – though that doesn’t make it hurt any less).

15 minutes of stoppage time(yes, 15!) were given for Philly to find an equalizer, but they weren’t able to take advantage of the gracious amount of time given, and the game ended in a 3-2 loss for the Blue and Gold.

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

Post Game Reactions

3 consecutive losses at home is something most people associated with this team – players, staff, and fans alike – have never experienced, or at least not in the last 12 years. Jim Curtin knows it’s unacceptable, saying “We have to turn this around, and that starts with me” in his post-game press conference.

Despite panic starting to set in amongst Union fans, Jim Curtin and his team, though clearly frustrated, seem to have a sense of calm and confidence that they’ll turn things around soon. Curtin was quick to point out that lots of players are having strong individual performances but the team as a whole is missing a 90-minute performance. Curtin acknowledged that fans won’t like to hear it, but he thought Philly played pretty well on Saturday night, though it doesn’t equate to anything without a result.

“Moments of the game were really good, but it’s useless without points.”

That sense of frustration with recent results, but the confidence that they’ll pull themselves out of it was mirrored by the players in the locker room after the game. Damion Lowe said that the team is full of professionals, and they’ll work hard and stick together to fight through this tough stretch. I asked Mikael Uhre about that as well and he shared a similar answer

“We know what we have to do to get out of these spells, it’s about working hard and being together as a team because that’s the only way we’re going to do it.”

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

Moving Forward

Philadelphia doesn’t have much of a turnaround before their next test as NYCFC come to town on Wednesday night on the back of their 3-2 win in Toronto in which former Philly midfielder Andres Parea scored the winning goal.

It’s difficult to label a game in mid-may a “must win”, but a loss at home on Wednesday would mark 4 consecutive losses at home for the first time in Philadelphia Union history – uncharted waters for this club. You’d have to take a really deep look in at yourself as a club at that point, wouldn’t you?

Can Jim Curtin get his team to put in a full 90-minute performance against NYCFC, a team that always plays Union with a lot of intensity? Or are we officially hitting the panic button come Thursday morning? A big couple of days ahead for the Blue and Gold.

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union


5th – A ball falls to the back post to an Orlando attacker but the attempt on net rings the outside of the goal post

9th – McGuire crosses a ball into the box but his attempt is deflected and is easily gathered by Oliver Semmle

11th – Martinez turns away from a defender in the midfield and finds McGlynn in the center. McGlynn takes a shot but is deflected out for a corner

12th – GOAL UNION! Nathan Harriel finds the ball at the top of the box after a recycled corner kick and slots it to Mikael Uhre inside the penalty area. Mikael hesitates and then strikes with his right foot being Gallese and giving Union a 1-0 lead. It’s just the 4th time in 11 games this season the Union have scored the opening goal of the game

15th – Daniel Gazdag gets a shot off from inside the penalty area but Gallese makes a huge save to keep it 1-0

21st – GOAL ORLANDO: Duncan McGuire gets a free header inside their 6-yard box and makes no mistake. His 5th goal of the MLS season brings the game level 1-1 in the 21st minute

33rd – Quinn Sullivan works his way down the left side of the field and plays a through-ball into the back for Jack McGlynn. McGlynn takes a shot with his left foot but the attempt goes high and wide of the far top corner

35 – Nate Harriel and Quinn Sullivan play a give-and-go down the right side of the pitch that ends with a right-footed shot from Quinn Sullivan, but his attempt sails high of the net

41st – GOAL ORLANDO: Jose Martinez gives the ball away in his own defensive half and Luis Muriel scores his first MLS goal with a left-footed shot from outside the penalty area to give Orlando the 2-1 lead just before half-time

45th – 4 minutes of stoppage time is put on the board at the end of the first half

49th – Oliver Semmle makes a huge save on Duncan McGuire who was racing in on net on the counter-attack

HALFTIME: Union goes into the break down 2-1 after consecutive goals from Duncan McGuire and Luis Muriel

46th – ORLANDO GOAL: Less than 30 second into the 2nd half, Luis Muriel finds the ball behind Union’s backline and he beats Semmle to make it 3-1.

55th – Union has the ball in the back of the net, but the referee determines the play offside. Game stays at 3-1

56th – Duncan McGuire receives a ball over the top of the backline and tries to chip Oliver Semmle, but his attempt goes wide. McGuire took Semmle out in the process, but Semmle looks OK to continue

63rd – After a VAR review, Union is awarded a penalty kick after a hand-ball committed in the box from a corner kick

66th – UNION GOAL! Daniel Gazdag steps up to the penalty spot and sends the ball straight down the middle of the goal, bringing the game to 3-2.

71st – Jakob Glesnes gets a header at the back-post from a corner kick but his attempt goes wide of the post

73rd – Ale Bedoya and Mikael Uhre each have an opportunity to head the ball inside the 6-yard box but both of their attempts miss the target

75th.- Damion Lowe is shown a straight red card for a DOGSO tackle on Duncan McGuire, but VAR makes a look and determines that Lowe won the ball and no foul was made on the play,

80th – Union Substitution: Chris Donovan checks in for Jose Martinez

88th – Daniel Gazdag’s attempt from the PK spot is stopped by Pedro Gallese

90th – The referee shows an additional 15 minutes of stoppage time

99h – Union Substitution: Tai Baribo comes on for Damion Lowe

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Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union