Union Lose to Orlando City But Remain Likely To Make Playoffs
On Breast Cancer Awareness Day, Talen Energy was packed with 18,007 fans, the Sons of Ben, and almost perfect weather surrounding the field. The setting and atmosphere couldn’t be more perfect for the biggest game in the Philadelphia Unions’ season, a win-and-in game (basically) versus the already eliminated Orlando City SC.
The match started out as a tentative battle, with each team trying to find a grip on the game. Turnovers and lack of quality on service into the box left fans yearning for a goal. Finally one of those turnovers, courtesy of the Union, transitioned into a scoring opportunity in the 11th minute when Orlando City striker Carlos Rivas stole the ball from the back line broke away and fired a shot wide of the right post.
Soon after the Rivas chance you started to see teams settle in. The Union began moving up the field and had the best opportunity of the half when Tranquillo Barnetta found Fabian Herbers in the box all alone with only Joe Bendik to beat. Herbers skied it into the camera (thank goodness that was there or it would have been in the river) and Union fans and players were clearly frustrated.
That frustration led to Orlando dominating the last part of the half as one cross took a deflection and careened off the post and into the hands of Andre Blake while another cross whipped in by Kaka was nearly slotted in by Garcia but Philly managed to get in a crucial block to prevent Orlando from going into halftime with the lead.
The second half was like the first at the start as both teams looked timid. It wasn’t until the 54th minute that CJ Sapong got on the end of a Fabinho cross and gave the Joe Bendik something to handle.
Unfortunately for Fabinho, five minutes later in the 59th minute he gave away a pass-back to Carlos Rivas of Orlando and Rivas took the ball down the field on the break and chipped it over an outstretched Andre Blake. Keegan Rosenberry tried to clear it off the line but ended up kicked it in the net and was awarded the own goal for his efforts. 1-0 Orlando City after 59 minutes.
Following the goal, the Union looked as if they had finally realized that this game is important and began pounding on the Orlando City goal for the next 20 minutes, with chances by Pontius and Sapong almost finding the pink netting. However, their chances seemed to fall one great touch away every time which gave Orlando opportunities on the counter. Orlando nearly capitalized on one counter in the 79th with Garcia, but the outstretched hands of Andre Blake bailed them out as he prevented Garcia from going far post from a nifty cutback.
Soon chants of, “Hey Union! We want three points!” started echoing around the stadium to inspire the Union to get a positive result. However, no matter how hard the Union pressed they couldn’t find an equalizer. Alberg, Ilsinho, Davies came on but couldn’t prove to find the back of the net and the frustration of the team began to show in stoppage time
That frustration again was the downfall of the Union as Julio Baptista of Orlando caught the backline napping and broke free to trickle the dagger past Blake, making it 2-0 in stoppage time. Immediately after Baptista scored, half the stadium vanished and the game was over after the restart.
Even though the Union didn’t win or draw, they have basically guaranteed a playoff spot due to a Revolution loss (send your postcards to Chicago, Union fans.) Next Sunday the Eastern Conference leading New York Red Bulls will be at Talen Energy as the Union look to find the back of the net and a sense of motivation before heading into the playoffs.
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