Welcome to your match thread for a Tuesday night U.S. Open Cup match-up between Orlando City SC and the Philadelphia Union at Exploria Stadium (7 p.m., ESPN+). This is a battle between two of the top four teams in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference. The Lions (5-4-2, 17 points) sit just two points behind the Union (5-1-4, 19 points) in the regular-season standings, but Philadelphia has a game in hand.
Here’s what you need to know ahead of the match.
Orlando City is 4-5-5 in the 14 MLS meetings with the Union since the club joined Major League Soccer in 2015, and 4-6-5 in all competitions. Orlando and Philadelphia met once before in U.S. Open Cup play, with the Union capturing a 1-0 home win back on July 18, 2018 on a goal by Alejandro Bedoya.
The Lions are 2-1-3 against the Union at home.
The teams last met on Sept. 19, 2021 at Subaru Park. The Union prevailed 3-1 largely due to a brace by Kacper Przybylko after he got away with what appeared a clear elbow to the face of Rodrigo Schlegel. Instead of being sent off or conceding a free kick to Orlando City, the Union scored on the ensuing play and went on to win the match. The last time the teams met in Orlando was last July 22. The Lions got goals by Benji Michel and Andres Perea on the team’s only two shots on target and won 2-1. Przybylko, who had feasted on Orlando since arriving in Philadelphia, pulled one back for the visitors but the Lions hung on.
The teams in 2020 in the group stage of the MLS is Back Tournament in 2020 with the game ending in a 1-1 draw after a Mauricio Pereyra goal canceled out a strike by Ilsinho. That draw allowed the Lions to win Group A in the competition and they went on to reach the final.
The teams met in what was then known as Talen Energy Stadium on July 7, 2019, with the Lions and Union drawing 2-2. Dom Dwyer and Santiago Patino brought Orlando back from 1-0 down but Przybylko poached a goal in the 90th to capture a share of the points for the Union. That match was postponed by MLS on the night it was set to take place — a move that Orlando City fought against — and instead was played the next day.
The two teams had met just a few days earlier on July 3, ending in Orlando’s 3-1 home loss against the Union. Chris Mueller and Przybylko swapped goals in the first half before Robin Jansson was sent off moments before the break. Afterwards, the 10-men Lions gave up two more goals — one to Przybylko and the other to Fafa Picault — and then went down another man with Sacha Kljestan seeing red.
The teams drew 2-2 in a wild finish on Sept. 1, 2018 in Orlando. Just when it looked like Picault had lifted the Union to victory with a strike in the 88th minute, Scott Sutter equalized in stoppage time to salvage a point for the Lions. Dwyer and Cory Burke also scored in that match. The Lions prevailed over the Union in Philadelphia on April 13, 2018 by a 2-0 score. Dwyer and Mueller provided the offense.
The teams split their two matches in 2017, with the home side prevailing both times. The Lions won 2-1 at Orlando City Stadium 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. Dwyer gave Orlando its only goal, while Earl Edwards Jr. (in his first MLS start) was beaten twice each by Ilsinho, Picault, and Sapong.
The Lions were 1-1-1 against Philadelphia in 2016. The team’s first road victory in the series came on Oct. 16, 2016, as the Lions roared, 2-0. Carlos Rivas and Julio Baptista scored. 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 Union. 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 the match in its worst form of 2022. The Lions were pounded 4-1 in Montreal on Saturday afternoon and have managed just 12 total shot attempts (five on target) across the last three matches combined. The good news is that Orlando won one of those three matches and the losses were minimized by other results across the Eastern Conference, as Orlando clings to fourth place in a crowded table. The Lions are just 3-3-0 at home in league play and 4-3-0 at home in all competitions.
The Union drew 2-2 at LAFC over the weekend, extending their current winless streak to four games (0-1-3). But Philadelphia has lost only once in 2022 and is a respectable 2-1-2 on the road this season.
While this is Philadelphia’s first match of the 2022 U.S. Open Cup, the Lions have already played once, defeating the Tampa Bay Rowdies 2-1 at home on April 20. Alexandre Pato and Junior Urso scored the goals.
Orlando will have to deal with Philadelphia’s strong midfield play and limit opportunities for Daniel Gazdag and Julian Carranza, who have combined for nine goals and six assists on the season. The Lions will also need to be aware of Kai Wagner joining the play, as he leads the Union in assists, with four. At the other end of the pitch, the Lions have to find a way to create opportunities to beat Jamaican international goalkeeper Andre Blake.
“We have to prove [on Tuesday] that we’re not the team we presented in our last match and we have to turn the page,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said after Saturday’s loss. “Our focus is on Philadelphia with this game in front of us in the middle of the week and we have to be prepared for that.”
Orlando will be without Antonio Carlos (hamstring), while Tesho Akindele (thigh) and Silvester van der Water (lower leg) are listed as questionable. Philadelphia is relatively healthy but could be without Jose Martinez, who picked up a knock at LAFC, and Mikael Uhre, who didn’t travel to Los Angeles.
Mandatory Match Content
- The most recent PawedCast includes our key match-ups and score predictions for tonight’s game.
Orlando City (4-2-3-1),
Goalkeeper: Mason Stajduhar.
Defenders: Kyle Smith, Robin Jansson, Rodrigo Schlegel, Michael Halliday.
Defensive Midfielders: Cesar Araujo, Junior Urso.
Attacking Midfielders: Alexandre Pato, Andres Perea, Facundo Torres.
Forward: Ercan Kara.
Bench: Adam Grinwis, Ruan, Joao Moutinho, Thomas Williams, Sebas Mendez, Mauricio Pereyra, Jack Lynn.
Philadelphia Union (4-4-2 diamond)
Goalkeeper: Matt Freese.
Defenders: Matthew Real, Stuart Findlay, Jack Elliott, Olivier Mbaizo.
Midfielders: Jack McGlynn, Leon Flach, Quinn Sullivan.
Forwards: Daniel Gazdag, Cory Burke, Paxten Aaronson.
Bench: Joe Bendik, Kai Wagner, Jakob Glesnes, Jose Martinez, Alejandro Bedoya, Sergio Santos, Julian Carranza.
Ref: Elvis Osmanovic.
AR1: Albert Escovar.
AR2: Brian Marshall.
4th: Jamie Crosby.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7 p.m. (ET).
Venue: Exploria Stadium — Orlando.
Streaming: The match can be streamed on ESPN+.
Enjoy the match. Go City!
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