Orlando City

Intelligence Report: Orlando City vs. Philadelphia Union

Get caught up with everything you need to know about the Philadelphia Union from someone who knows them best.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC

Orlando City is set to continue a difficult May schedule Saturday, and will try to avoid a three-game losing streak in the process. This week sees the Lions travel north to face the Philadelphia Union, which will be the first of three taking place in a span of eight days, with two of those on the road, forcing Orlando to shuttle back and forth across the country.

A date with the Union means I caught up with Joe Lister of the always excellent Philadelphia Soccer Now. As usual, Joe was very helpful in getting us caught up on what’s been happening with the Union, and I also answered some of his questions about OCSC, which you can find over at their place.

Run me through Philadelphia’s off-season transfer business. Are there any new names who have stood out?

Joe Lister: Philadelphia’s transfer business is nearly nonexistent. They sold a few guys, but didn’t really bring anyone notable in. The group that will be available against Orlando on Saturday is the same group that’s been around with the team for (generally) two or three years.

Quinn Sullivan, however, has been a relevation this season. His brother, Cavan, has obviously been in the news as of late. However, Quinn, 20, has been great for Philly. He’s got great pace down the side of the pitch and has a motor that doesn’t seem to quit. If he can perfect his final touch, he’ll make the Union a good bit of money.

It’s still quite early in the season, but its strange to see the Union not occupying their typical spot near the top of the East. Is there any concern among the fanbase, or are people largely happy with what they’ve seen so far?

JL: People are upset. This team, by Philly fans’ standards, sucks. The Eastern Conference is obviously super tough this year (Miami and RBNY are worth shoutouts), but Philadelphia just isn’t performing. They nearly lost three games in a row for the first time since 2017 with their draw against D.C. United. They were saved by a blast from Jack McGlynn that they didn’t necessarily deserve.

The Union are underwhelming. The front office has operated under the impression that the teams from 2020, 2021, and 2022 can still compete in MLS. The issue is that while the league has gotten better, the Union have just gotten worse.

The Union’s only two losses of the season have come at home. Is that simply down to playing two good teams in Real Salt Lake and the Seattle Sounders, or is there something else at play there?

JL: That’s just the team being in a funk. Again, this team is underperforming by Philadelphia’s standards. Losing at home is a true showcase of how far this team has fallen. I think the Union will be fine longterm — this is a playoff team, but nothing more than that.

Will any players be unavailable due to injury, suspension, etc.? What is your projected starting lineup and score prediction?

JL: Defender Olivier Mbaizo and goalkeeper Andre Blake were both out for last match with injuries. Blake’s been in-and-out all season, but I think the team has started to realize that backup Oliver Semmle is good enough that the three-time Goalkeeper of the Year doesn’t need to always be on the pitch. Julian Carranza is also suspended due to yellow card accumulation.

Lineup (4-4-2 diamond): Oliver Semmle; Kai Wagner, Jack Elliott, Jakob Glesnes, Nathan Harriel; Jose Martinez; Leon Flach, Alejandro Bedoya; Daniel Gazdag; Quinn Sullivan, Mikael Uhre.

I think this is a 2-2 draw. Based on where the Union are at right now, Orlando will get two first-half goals, the Union will pull back in the second half. Feels like a game where Daniel Gazdag should find the net at some point.

Thank you to Joe for the inside info on the Union. Vamos Orlando!


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