Late goals from Fafa Picault and Scott Sutter left the Union splitting points with Orlando City SC Saturday night on a muggy night in Florida. Dom Dwyer opened the scoring on a set piece before Borek Dockal picked out Cory Burke to even things up. In the 88th minute, Picault made a sensational mazy run and hit a deflected shot past Joe Bendik, but Sutter responded three minutes later with a low driven finish off a backheel from Josue Colman. Dockal left the match with an ankle injury in the 40th minute following a Cristian Higuita tackle from behind.
The Union’s long shutout streak disappeared early. After Orlando City put together a good move up the right, Ray Gaddis committed a foul just outside the box. Yoshi Yotun curled in an in-swinging cross and Dwyer found himself all alone near the front post and easily headed the ball past Andre Blake to put the home side in front in the ninth minute.
Haris Medunjanin had Philly’s first response when he ripped a strike from the top right of the box in the 16th minute. CJ Sapong worked his way through two defenders before dropping the ball back to Medunjanin who fired across goal and forced Bendik into a diving stop.
Less than a minute later, Medunjanin combined with Keegan Rosenberry up the right and the latter spun a wonderful cross behind the defense that unfortunately met no finish.
Ale Bedoya got in on the action in the 23rd minute when he met a Medunjanin corner just in front of goal. But the captain got under the ball and lifted it over the goal from close range.
Orlando put together a dangerous attack moments later when Yotun rounded Rosenberry and slid the ball behind the back line where Dwyer was bustling toward goal. Blake came out to challenge, and when the ball rolled through the box to the back post, Cristian Higuita tried to turn it into the net from a tight angle. The ball rebounded off the inside of the far post and into Blake’s grateful arms.
Philadelphia finally broke through in the 32nd minute, and it was the team’s leading creator finding its leading goalscorer. Medunjanin played Dockal on the right, and the Czech attacker curled a wonderful cross for Burke, who rose over Scott Sutter to head home the tying goal.
Fafa Picault nearly put the Union ahead moments later but was denied by the crossbar. After isolating Will Johnson on the left, Picault used a body feint to create space, cut right, and blast the woodwork from just outside the box on the left.
Dwyer had the next good look, drifting away from the defense and nodding a free header just wide of goal.
On the ensuing play, Higuita made a late slide tackle on Dockal that injured the attacker, though no foul was called. The Czech man, who is now even with Kaku for the most assists in the league, had to leave the match. Derrick Jones came on in the 40th minute to finish out the match.
The teams went into the half at 1-1, but Burke and Sapong nearly changed that line in the first minute of the second frame. Sapong made a wonderful driving run through the center, played Burke wide on the right, and jetted toward goal. However, Burke’s return ball was barely cut out by Sutter’s slide.
The Union were on the front foot for much of the opening exchanges of the half, but it would take until the 64th minute for a great chance to develop. It came after Ilsinho, on for Sapong, dribbled into the box and lost the ball. As Orlando sought to clear, Medunjanin stole possession back and quite suddenly zipped an incredible cross into the box with the outside of his left foot. Burke met the ball cleanly with his head but pushed the shot wide of the near post.
Most players were dragging in the heat, but Fafa Picault was growing into the match. First he drove down the left alone, centering for Burke at the last moment. The big striker was bumped away from the ball and the match remained even. But Picault would not be denied, so next time he took things into his own hands. In the 88th minute, the winger executed a seemingly endless dribbling weave through the defense before unleashing a shot that deflected off a defender and nestled beyond the stranded Bendik in goal.
But this would not be a lead Philly could hold. A Yotun crossfield ball in the 91st minute was cut out by Gaddis, but the fullback was quickly met with pressure and Josue Colman backheeled the ball to Scott Sutter running past. The fullback slammed a low shot past Andre Blake and into the far corner of the goal.
The match ended 2-2, leaving the Union’s five match unbeaten run in MLS intact. Philly has next weekend off then returns to action on Saturday, September 15 when Montreal Impact come to town.