Orlando, Fla. (February 19, 2011) – Philadelphia Union lost their first preseason match in 2011 on Saturday night, as the club fell to USL-Pro side Orlando City S.C. 1-0 at the Florida Citrus Bowl. A straight red card handed to Carlos Valdes in the 17th minute left the Union a man down, and Lewis Neal capitalized on the ensuing free kick for the match’s lone goal.
"It was tough going down a man early, trying to play catch up for the rest of the game," said midfielder Kyle Nakazawa. "Regarding how we played, it was our last game of a three-week camp and I'm sure a lot of guys were fatigued, but there are things we need to work on and some things we’re going to get better at."
SEE: Match Photos
Playing with 10 men, the Union were left searching for an equalizer the remainder of the match. In the 31st minute, Danny Mwanga stole a ball in the midfield and managed to slice through Orlando’s defense, but the striker’s shot from the top of the box was wide of the near post.
Mwanga continued to challenge the Lions in the 43rd minute after Roger Torres found the Rookie of the Year finalist to the left of the goal, but Mwanga’s attempt missed the far post.
The Union came out refreshed in the second half, creating chances throughout
the final 45 minutes of the match. Nakazawa had several scoring
opportunities, but the midfielder was unable to convert.
The 1-0 result closes out the Union’s first leg of preseason training, presented by Bimbo Bakeries USA. The club will head back to Philadelphia on Sunday morning.
"It was our first camp of the year and a long one at that, but I think we made strides for sure in these three weeks," said Nakazawa. "I don’t know if the results showed that particularly, but what we aimed to do as a team was to try to improve every day and I think we did that."
On Wednesday, February 23, Nowak’s squad will leave to complete its 2011 preseason training in Heraklion, Crete, sponsored by Colonial Marble & Granite. The final leg of preseason will feature matches against Greek Third Division side Hersonisos F.C. and Super League side Ergotelis F.C.
ORL – Lewis Neal (unassisted) 19'
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Keystone Sports and Entertainment, LLC, is the ownership group of Philadelphia Union and is comprised of Chairman/Owner Jay Sugarman, CEO and Operating Partner Nick Sakiewicz, Christopher Buccini, Robert Buccini and David Pollin, founding partners of The Buccini/Pollin Group. The group launched the Philadelphia Union's inaugural season on March 25, 2010 and opened PPL Park, the brand new $122 million soccer specific stadium on the Chester Waterfront, on June 27, 2010. PPL Park, the home of Philadelphia Union, holds approximately 18,500 seats and will host various events throughout the year. For more information about Philadelphia Union, visit www.philadelphiaunion.com.