A pair of goals before the halftime whistle broke open the scoring and saw Philadelphia Union push its winning streak to five with a 5-1 victory against Orlando City SC on Saturday night at Subaru Park. Olivier Mbaizo opened the scoring in the first half with his first goal in MLS play while leading goalscorer Daniel Gazdag set another club record with a goal in fifth-consecutive matches.
With both sides having won each of their last four matches in league play, neither side was willing to concede an inch and it was apparent from the opening whistle. The Union sought to break things open quite early as team captain Alejandro Bedoya sent a ball over the top to Mikael Uhre to spark an attack. The Dane quickly got it centrally to running mate Julian Carranza who forced a diving stop by Orlando City’s goalkeeper.
Orlando City sought to score right out of the gate too as defender Antonio Carlos attempted a bicycle kick off a Lions corner kick but the Union defense snuffed it out. The Union turned defense into offense seconds into the fifth minute as left back Kai Wagner turned to a quick throw in to feed leading-scoring Daniel Gazdag. Gazdag quickly shot a pass to his right for Leon Flach at the edge of the box but the midfielder couldn’t sync up with Uhre. The miss turned into a pass for Bedoya as he recollected possession and quickly got it to Gazdag. With a run at the edge of the box, he laid it off for Uhre but the offsides flag negated a possible scoring chance.
The Union looked like they notched the opening goal in the 15th minute when Wagner laced a rope over the top of the Orlando City defense and into the run of Carranza. With just the keeper the beat, the forward causally tucked it home. The celebrations were short lived as the assistant raised his flag and called a tight offside.
As the Union played over the top so did the recently crowned Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Champions in the form of Benji Michel. Seeking to launch volleys over the crowded midfield, Defensive Player of the Year candidate Jack Elliott kept the speedy forward at bay with every chance. Only once did Michel find the chance to have a rip on the Union goal only to be frustrated by Union goalkeeper Andre Blake who pawed away a near post blast.
Orlando’s gameplan sought to congest the middle of the pitch, forcing Gazdag and the Union’s threats to come just from the flanks. It looked like a plan that might work but it was undone in the 39th minute a a quick build up saw the ball drift out wide to Olivier Mbaizo. The Cameroonian right back looked to connect with Uhre open in the box and sent a right footed shot from a difficult angle that took a deflection off a defender and floated into the back of the net to sent Subaru Park into a frenzy.
The Union nearly doubled the lead within seconds as Uhre ran into the box between a pair of defenders but saw a left-footed shot miss the far post. In the 43rd minute, the Dane wouldn’t miss as he took a quick counter attack pass from Gazdag and smashed it into the bottom left corner to double the Union’s advantage just before the break.
Orlando City looked to regained momentum with a pair of changes at the break as Facundo Torres and Iván Angulo came on. Both sides traded chances but the Union would take advantage of an Orlando mishap to add another goal to their record-breaking campaign. After scoring his first MLS goal in the first half, Mbaizo sliced his way past a defender and sent a hard cross right toward goalkeeper Mason Stajduhar. The keeper couldn’t hold maintain possession and spilled it at the edge of the box. Seeing the chance for a second goal. Uhre reacted perfectly and got a touch before being taken down by the visiting keeper. The referee quickly pointed to the spot and even had a second look courtesy of the video-assistant referee but the call was upheld. Gazdag stepped once again to the spot and remained perfect to set another franchise record with his fifth-straight league match with a goal in the 55th.
As has been the case for the Boys in Blue in 2022, scoring can come from anywhere and it was on display in the 63rd minute as the Union pushed the scoreline to 4-1. Again playing out of the flank, Mbaizo dropped off a pass for Jose Martinez as he drifted out wide. The Venezuelan switched the attack with a cross to the other flank where Wagner was waiting. Seeing navy shirts in the middle of the box, the left back sent in a left-footed cross that was smashed home via a diving header from captain Bedoya.
With the four-goal advantage, Curtin turned to his hungry substitutes with Cory Burke and Jack McGlynn getting in by the 73rd minute. Orlando City would avoid the shutout two minutes later with Andres Perea sneaking a shot past the stout Union defense to make it 4-1. The Union didn’t sit back and wanted more and found it again with service out wide. Coming from a set piece this time, Wagner kept on creating goals as he connected with Elliott perfectly to send the Union fans home happy once more.
Philadelphia Union hits the road for last time in September as they take on Eastern Conference foe Atlanta United FC on Saturday, September 17th. Kick off from Georgia is set for 3:30 p.m. ET with coverage on UniMas, TUDN as well as on Twitter.