Match Recap

Recap | Union fall to Orlando City in chaotic clash


Philadelphia Union’s latest home match featured a little bit of everything but ultimately saw Orlando City claim a 3-2 result at Subaru Park on Saturday night.

The Eastern Conference sides combined for five goals, two lengthy VAR checks and ultimately 15 minutes of second half stoppage time before the away side grabbed the win with a three-goal rally after Mikael Uhre opened the scoring in the 12th minute. Daniel Gazdag pulled the match to a 3-2 margin with a penalty kick finish in the 66th minute but Orlando keeper Pedro Gallese won the second battle late in the match to seal the visitor’s three points.

Philadelphia Union returned to Subaru Park on Saturday night, hosting Orlando City SC at home for an Eastern Conference matchup after a momentous week that saw the club make headlines across the country and the globe. While he wasn’t on the matchday roster, 14-year-old wunderkind Cavan Sullivan, the team’s newest Homegrown signing, struck the drum to kick off the action.

His brother, Quinn Sullivan, was back in the starting lineup as usual alongside Mikael Uhre as forwards, then Daniel Gazdag, Alejandro Bedoya, Jack McGlynn, and Jose Martinez in the midfield. Kai Wagner and Nate Harriel manned left and right back, while Damion Lowe and Jakob Glesnes were paired as centerbacks in front of rookie Oliver Semmle, filling in for goalkeeper Andre Blake.

Orlando City were forced into some big changes for the contest with Rafael Santos, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson, and Rodrigo Schlegel all unavailable through injury or suspension. In their absence, Head Coach Oscar Pareja shook up their typical lineup after starting the regular season with just two wins.

It didn’t take long for Philadelphia Union to claim a lead, finding the back of the net in the 12th minute by way of Uhre. Collecting a pass from Nate Harriel, the 29-year-old Danish Forward shot the ball past goalkeeper Pedro Gallese, sending Subaru Park into an eruption of applause. With his goal, Mikael Uhre became the sixth all time scorer in club history with 26 goals in league play, surpassing Jack McInerney.

Uhre’s score set the tone early – the Union nearly claimed another one in quick succession as skillful juking and purposeful passing from McGlynn allowed him to send a pass into the box toward Uhre, who tapped it toward Gazdag descending for a shot on target but it was saved. Orlando City matched the energy with a goal from 23-year-old standout Duncan McGuire; he put it past Semmle in the 21st minute for his fifth goal this season, knotting the score 1-1.

Philly were close to retaking the lead shortly after the half hour mark with the homegrown duo of Sullivan and McGlynn connecting on the left side of the attack. After a series of patience passes, Sullivan slipped McGlynn into the box and tried to rip a curler into the back post that was just off the mark.

Despite half chances from the Union, it was Orlando City that got the next goal on the scoreboard as former Seattle Sounders star Nico Loderio notched his second assist of the evening. After setting up McGuire, he quickly hit a pass at the edge of the box for Luis Muriel. Two touches to his left were quickly followed up with a blast from 20 yards out that went into the far corner for the 2-1 lead.

With four minutes of stoppage time added to the first half, Wagner took a corner to try to eliminate the deficit before halftime, but his effort was unsuccessful. They had another chance to create a chance, with patient passing but Orlando City took it on a breakaway and McGuire bolted for another shot that just missed. Before the whistle marking the conclusion of the first half, the referee showed a yellow card to Iván Angulo for dissent.

Orlando City needed little time to add to their advantage as they took the opening kickoff of the second half and quickly found the back of the net. Again it was Muriel and Loderio combining as the midfielder split the Union defense with a pass forward to the Orlando City forward. With a 1v1 chance against the keeper, Muriel converted to make it a 3-1 game only 20 seconds into the final half.

Quinn Sullivan put one past Gallese in the 54th minute, but the assistant referee quickly raised his flag to stifle the Subaru Park celebrations. After a quick check, the call stood as Gazdag was found to be offside before flicking the ball to the Union homegrown.

Orlando City found another breakaway shortly after, with Lowe tracking down McGuire who ran over Semmle in his pursuit for the ball. His drive sent the ball past the left post and out of play, also leaving Semmle on the ground in pain. The German rookie was able to shake off the hit and continue play, and after Orlando subbed in Martin Ojeda for Thór­halls­son.

A pair of potential game-changing plays occurred in the 61st minute with Orlando City captain Robin Jansson was taken off the field in a stretcher after going to defend a set piece. Amidst the action, Loderio’s actions in the box were checked for a potential handball. After a lengthy check from the Video Assistant Referee, the handball was called with the Union awarded a chance from the penalty spot.

Expectedly, Gazdag, the team’s resident penalty specialist lined up for the attempt, hitting the back of the net to decrease Orlando’s lead to one. On the same night he was honored for breaking the club’s all-time scoring record, which also happened to be the three year anniversary of his signing, Gazdag scored at home in front of Union fans, making the score 3-2.

Momentum was nearly turned back in Orlando City’s favor in the 74th minute when Damion Lowe was issued a red card, attempting to stop McGuire on another mad dash toward Semmle. After the crowd saw the replay they quickly voiced their claims for another VAR check which ultimately came. After checking the play near the Union goal, the official on the field announced that the Jamaican center back got the ball first and rescinded the call to keep the Union at 11 on the pitch.

Head Coach Jim Curtin turned to an all-out offensive approach late in the match, pulling Jose Martinez in favor of forward Chris Donovan with 10 minutes remaining.

The next plot twist came with four minutes remaining as Harriel launched himself for a header in the and was fouled by Angulo in the process. Gazdag got another chance from the spot however the Peruvian keeper made the stop to snap the longest PK streak to start a MLS career.

At the 90th minute, the official on the sideline ruled that there would be 15 added minutes of stoppage time, prompting the Union to make one more change with such a lengthy amount of time to find a tying goal that ultimately wouldn't come.

Philadelphia Union continues its busy slate of games as they turn their attention to rivals New York City FC on Wednesday, May 15th. Kick off from Subaru Park is set for 7:30PM for the Eastern Conference tickets, with limited seats still remaining.

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Every match matters! In 2024, you do not want to miss your favorite matchups as the Union take on the best MLS has to offer! When we score, make sure you are there to get Subaru Park shaking!

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