Andre Blake has been the best goalie in the MLS Is Back Tournament in Orlando and it hasn't been close. On Monday night, Blake stood on his head and Ilsinho drilled home a second half goal as the Union and Orlando City SC drew 1-1 to close out Group A play. Orlando and Philadelphia finish with the same number of points, so the Union end up as the second place finisher in Group A and will play the second place finisher in Group C.
In a physical first half, Orlando City sought to impose themselves on the match by controlling the center of the pitch. Jack Elliott and Mark McKenzie were strong in support of Warren Creavalle though, and the Lions settled for sighters from Junior Urso until Tesho Akindele broke through in the 28th minute off a quick combination in the center and ripped a strike at Blake's near post. BLake was off his line in an instant to close the angle and parried the ball out of play.
Sergio Santos, starting his second straight match after injury, toppled his defender on the endline and centered for Brenden Aaronson in the 45th minute. The homegrown midfielder didn't have time to open his body and looked to slot the ball inside the near post but the shot was too narrow.
A smart run from Jhegson Mendez once again brought out the best in Blake. Mendez broke through alone on a pass from Chris Mueller but Blake confronted the midfielder and smothered his shot. Mueller was certain he could take a touch around Blake, but the Jamaican shot-stopper leapt up and plucked the loose ball from attacker's feet.
Once again, the Union backstop produced magic in the 66th minute. Antonio Carlos' imposing frame rose highest to redirect a Nani corner kick onto the goal frame. Blake expanded his body, pushing out a long arm that tipped the ball against the crossbar. A stunned Taylor Twellman muttered, "He saved it!" on ESPN's national coverage.
Ilsinho thanked his goalie with a rifled finish two minutes later. Bedoya nudged the ball wide to the right and Ilsinho put his laces behind a shot from what many would consider a passing angle.
The lead only lasted a pair of minutes, however, and Mauricio Pereyra swooped through the middle to head home a Nani cross.
In the waning moments, Jamiro Monteiro wrapped his foot around a long shot that Pedro Gallese parried. Late substitute Matt Real then sent in an excellent cross that Antonio Carlos cleared, though the ball appeared to strike Ruan's arm in the box. Surprisingly, VAR did not review the play using the most complex camera system ever assembled for Major League Soccer matchups.
The draw means the Union will face the second place team in Group C at 10:30 p.m ET on July 25th.