It was a Decision Day that Orlando City will decide to forget, as the Lions traveled to Chester, PA, for their final game of the 2017 season. They were chased out of town by the Philadelphia Union, who put a 6-1 beating on Orlando at Talen Energy Stadium.
The Union scored two goals in the first six minutes, and four in the first half altogether, as Orlando will limp into the off-season with just two wins in its final 15 games. Six goals allowed is also the most the Lions have given up in a game in their short MLS history.
Jason Kreis made six changes to his starting lineup from the squad that took on the Columbus Crew last weekend, including in goal, where Earl Edwards Jr. made his first career MLS start after Joe Bendik was ruled out because of concussion protocol, and it couldn’t have been more of a nightmare game for the third-year pro. Kaká, Cyle Larin, Will Johnson, and Jonathan Spector were also out for this one.
Ilsinho opened the scoring quickly, in the third minute, blasting a shot past Edwards from the top of the penalty area off of an assist from Alejandro Bedoya. Three minutes later, Fabrice-Jean Picault doubled the lead when Ilsinho floated a ball into the box from the right side. Picault was there to beat Scott Sutter and head it home. C.J. Sapong grabbed his first of two goals on the afternoon in the 26th minute when Picault blew past Hines down the right side, beating him into the box before putting a pass back into the middle of the area. Sapong knocked it in to make it a 3-0 game.
If things hadn’t already gotten out of hand, they did in the 38th minute when Philadelphia added a fourth. Sutter, about 40 yards away from his own goal, headed a back pass to nobody. Picault chased it down and slipped the ball through Edwards Jr.’s legs.
Sapong, who now has 16 goals on the year, a Union record, and Ilsinho both added their second goals of the afternoon in the second half, bringing the Union to their franchise record of six goals.
Orlando City saw far less in terms of decent scoring opportunities. Dom Dwyer had a header saved on the goal line in the ninth minute, but did pull one back to put the Lions on the board in the 72nd minute when he headed home a Yoshi Yotun free kick for his ninth goal of the season and fourth with the Lions. It was also Orlando’s first goal since Sept. 27 against the New England Revolution, when the team broke out for a 6-1 win of their own that night.
Orlando does have one more game left on the schedule, a friendly against the Puerto Rican national team on Nov. 4 at Orlando City Stadium. That game will benefit relief efforts in the country following Hurricane Maria. But outside of that match, this closes the book on the Lions’ third season in MLS.