Welcome to your match thread for today's match-up between Orlando City SC (2-2-1, 7 points) and the Philadelphia Union (1-1-2, 5 points). This is the first of two meetings between the Eastern Conference rivals in 2018, with the second coming in Orlando on Sept. 1.
Orlando City is 2-3-2 in the seven MLS meetings with the Union since the club joined Major League Soccer in 2015, but is just 1-3-0 in Philadelphia. The teams split their two matches last year, with the home side prevailing both times. The Lions won 2-1 at Orlando City Stadium last year on March 18 as part of the team’s hot start. Cyle Larin scored a brace to lead the Lions. C.J. Sapong scored for Philadelphia. The rematch was an ugly 6-1 Philadelphia win in the season finale for both teams, as the Union laid claim on a worse draft position. Dom Dwyer gave Orlando its only goal, while Earl Edwards Jr. (in his first MLS start) was beaten twice each by Ilsinho, Fabrice-Jean Picault, and C.J. Sapong.
The Lions were 1-1-1 against Philadelphia in 2016. The lone road victory came in the last match-up at Talen Energy Stadium on Oct. 16, 2016, as the Lions roared, 2-0. Carlos Rivas and Julio Baptista provided the offense. The teams played to a 2-2 draw on May 25 in Orlando, as Ken Tribbett made the Lions pay for Kaká’s missed penalty in the first half by scoring an equalizing goal off a corner kick. Kevin Molino and Larin scored for Orlando City, and Tranquillo Barnetta also scored for the Barnetta’s free kick in the 89th minute gave Philly a 2-1 win on March 8 of 2016, with Adrian Winter scoring for the Lions on the road.
Orlando City enters on a two-game winning streak but the Lions are 0-1 on the road this season. On the other hand, Philadelphia is on a three-game winless skid (0-1-2) but is unbeaten at home (1-0-2).
Jason Kreis said this week that he expects Oriol Rosell to finally be available for selection this week and I’m looking for him to come off the bench, as he certainly won’t be 90-minute match fit. With Jonathan Spector back in concussion protocol this week, it’s bad news for the back line so we’re likely looking at a center back pairing of Lamine Sané and Amro Tarek. To make matters worse, Scott Sutter (lower body injury) is day-to-day and did not travel. Look for RJ Allen to get the start at right back.
For the Union, Fabinho (knee surgery) and Richie Marquez (sports hernia) are both still recovering from surgery and Josh Yaro has been dealing with an adductor strain. He was listed as questionable last week so he may be ready to play tonight.
The Lions have played a 4-2-3-1 the last game and a half and that could continue, given Philadelphia’s speed. In addition to the pacey Sapong up top, Lion killer David Accam plays out on the left wing for Philly, while Picault — another dynamic player — patrols the right. Philadelphia has been a 4-2-3-1 team for the past few years. Accam hasn’t really gotten going yet this season but his eyes will light up seeing the Lions and he’ll be a handful for Allen.
Mandatory Match #Content
- Our Intelligence Report gives us more about Philadelphia with the help from Matt Ralph of SB Nation’s Union blog, Brotherly Game.
- This week's PawedCast includes our key match-ups and score predictions, plus our exclusive interview with Orlando Pride midfielder Christine Nairn.
Orlando City (4-2-3-1),
Goalkeeper: Joe Bendik
Defenders: Mohamed El-Munir, Amro Tarek, Lamine Sané, RJ Allen.
Defensive Midfielders: Yoshimar Yotun, Will Johnson.
Attacking Midfielders: Stefano Pinho, Sacha Kljestan, Chris Mueller.
Forward: Dom Dwyer.
Bench: Earl Edwards Jr., Donny Toia, Dillon Powers, Oriol Rosell, Cristian Higuita, Justin Meram, Josué Colmán.
Philadelphia Union (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Andre Blake.
Defenders: Matthew Real, Auston Trusty, Jack Elliott, Keegan Rosenberry.
Defensive Midfielders: Haris Medunjanin, Alejandro Bedoya.
Attacking Midfielders: David Accam, Borek Dockal, Fabrice-Jean Picault.
Forward: C.J. Sapong.
Bench: John McCarthy, Raymon Gaddis, Mark McKenzie, Ilsinho, Warren Creavalle, Anthony Fontana, Jay Simpson.
Ref: Chris Penso.
AR1: Nick Uranga.
AR2: Jeremy Kieso.
4th: Sorin Stoica.
VAR: Edvin Jurisevic.
How to Watch
Match Time: 8 p.m. (ET).
Venue: Talen Energy Stadium — Chester, PA.
Radio: FM 96.9 The Game, La Nueva 990 (Spanish).
Streaming: ESPN+, MLS Live. (Note: the new ESPN app is not yet available on Roku. It is currently available on Amazon, Apple, and Google devices, including Chromecast.)
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