Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Philadelphia Union: Five Takeaways



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Well that was fun! Despite the latter stages being a bit nervy, Orlando City went on the road and got it done against a Philadelphia Union team that had been close to invincible at home for a very long time. What follows are my five takeaways from a satisfying road victory.

Red Hot Start

Orlando came absolutely flying out of the gates in this one. It took just two minutes for Martin Ojeda to open the scoring after he latched onto a ball over the top from Mauricio Pereyra and kept his cool once he found himself 1-v-1 with Joe Bendik. The fun didn’t stop there as the Lions’ newest Designated Player then turned provider when he played a neat little pass behind the Philadelphia defense that put Ivan Angulo clean through on goal. Like Ojeda, Angulo made no mistake and doubled OCSC’s advantage. A lead meant that Orlando was able to do exactly what Oscar Pareja wanted to do: defend with numbers and break quickly when winning the ball to try to catch the Union out on the counter. It didn’t work to complete perfection, but it did work.

Familiar Faces

The Lions found themselves up against two familiar faces in Joe Bendik and Andres Perea. Perea, in particular, was absolutely immense on the night. Not only did he score the Union’s lone goal, but he seemed involved in everything they did going forward. He ended the night with one chance created and six shots, with all but one coming from well inside the box. For a guy who had his moments but never fully clicked in Orlando, it was nice to see him thriving, even if it had to come against his former team. In Bendik’s case, his night was a bit rougher as he was beaten twice, but he still managed to stonewall Ojeda when the Argentine had a chance to ice the game late.

Ojeda’s Opening Night

Speaking of Ojeda, he was my Man of the Match and I thought this was easily the best game he’s played in an Orlando City shirt. Obviously he had a goal and an assist, but outside of that he passed with 80% accuracy, created two chances, took eight shots, blocked three on the other end and had two tackles. While he probably should have had a hat trick given that he failed to take advantage of two excellent chances in the dying stages of the game, he seemed to be involved in most of the good things that the Lions did on the night, and it was fantastic to see what he’s capable of doing. Hopefully this game is just the start of good things for him.

Look Who’s Back

A wild Antonio Carlos has appeared! Sure, it was only for 10 minutes plus stoppage time, but the Brazilian defender made his long-awaited return from injury and helped put the game away for Orlando City. His return is huge, because the Lions don’t exactly have a ton of center back depth outside of Rodrigo Schlegel and Abdi Salim. Schlegel has held the fort down admirably in Carlos’ absence, but a healthy AC and Robin Jansson are one of the better starting center back pairings in the league. His return hasn’t been able to come soon enough, and the fact that it happened on a night when the Lions nabbed a road victory made it even sweeter.

Stopping the Streak

Not only was this a road victory, but prior to this win, the Union had won 12 straight games at home and Philadelphia was undefeated in its last 24 home league games at Subaru Park. The last time the Union had lost at home was Sept. 3, 2021 to the New England Revolution. Sure, the Union were missing Andre Blake, Julian Carranza, Daniel Gazdag, Damion Lowe, Jose Martinez, Richard Odada, Quinn Sullivan, Brandan Craig, and Jack McGlynn, but Orlando had its fair share of absences as well, with Pedro Gallese and Facundo Torres the two biggest names missing. My point is that a win in this game was far from the first thing many people predicted, but the Lions were able to go on the road, get it done, and bounce back from last week’s performance in the process. Now that one streak has snapped, it would be great if OCSC can go start one of its own.

Those are my big thoughts from Saturday’s match. What were your impressions from a hard-fought win? Be sure to have your say down in the comments.


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