Analysis

Preseason scrimmage news and deductions: Orlando City 3-1 Union

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

Fundamental conditioning was achieved in Wednesday afternoon’s scrimmage between Philadelphia Union and Orlando City. A Union squad thinned by injuries focused primarily on those likely to start against Deportivo Saprissa in Costa Rica in two weeks’ time. Orlando scored three goals. Philly got one back in the 79th minute.

Players

Lineup: (4-2-3-1): Andre Blake; Kai Wagner (Matt Real, 60’), Aurelien Collin (Brandan Craig, 46’), Jakob Glesnes (Matej Oravec, 60’), Nate Harriel; Jack Elliott (Jack McGlynn, 60’), Alejandro Bedoya (Cole Turner, 60’); Jack de Vries, Paxton Aaronson, Quinn Sullivan; Anthony Fontana.

Injured: Kacper Przybylko (day-to-day, back spasms), Cory Burke (groin, has yet to practice), Sergio Santos (toe ligament, 3-4 weeks), Ilsinho (calf, 1-2 weeks), Jose Martinez (ankle, no fracture, 1-2 weeks). All information per Jim Curtin’s media availability 3/22/21.

Away: Matt Freese (US U23 Concacaf Olympic qualifying), Jamiro Monteiro (Cape Verde, African Cup of Nations qualifying), Olivier Mbaizo (Cameroon, African Cup of Nations qualifying).

Deductions:

Since there was no livestream, these points rely on lineup information and the limited comments of the live preseason blog. The blog itself is second-hand with a writer in Pennsylvania interpreting what he is told over the phone and social media.  So these points are third hand.

  • Kacper Przybylko is likely to be the only striker with significant MLS experience available for the April 7 match against Deportivo Saprissa in Costa Rica. It is a realistic possibility that the Union may use a 4-2-3-1 in consequence.

Countering that idea is a segment of Jim Curtin’s “mic’d up” video on the Union website in which he encourages Przybylko that quick counters will be the Union’s best weapon against the Costa Ricans. We do not know the exact date when Curtin wore the microphone. The Burke and Santos injuries have been known for a while.

  • Probably Cole Turner did not start because he was recovering from having played more than 90 minutes three days ago.
  • Aurelien Collin upped his match fitness to 45 minutes. Pushing a 35-year-old harder makes little practical sense, so Brandan Craig came on for him at halftime.
  • Replacing Elliott and Bedoya at 60 minutes after having gone equally long three days before reflects that conditioning the starters was the most fundamental purpose of the day’s event.
  • In consequence, de Vries, Paxton Aaronson and Quinn Sullivan all played the full 90 minutes, in the midfield no less. Nate Harriel did so at right back.These are definite first-team career “firsts” for Aaronson, Sullivan, and Harriel, and probably for de Vries.
  • Aaronson’s goal came in the 79th minute, and so likely was not against Orlando’s best defense. Nutmegging a goalkeeper suggests that. But it takes nothing away from starting at midfield and dribbling through three defenders  in order to score.
  • Fontana played the full 90 also, ostensibly as the striker.
  • Monteiro and Mbaizo’s last international matches are both on Tuesday, March 30. Getting them through necessary quarantine protocols in the eight days before the away Saprissa match April 7th would seem to require charter flights waiting on the ground in both Maputo, Mozambique (Monteiro) and Douala, Cameroon (Mbaizo). Their respective taxicab engines should begin revving after both final whistles.

The Union’s last preseason match is at Subaru Park at 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 31 against D. C. United. The event will be live-streamed on the Union’s website for those within 75 miles of the stadium. Dave Leno and new Union color man Danny Higginbotham will provide commentary.

One Comment

  1. Great article. Aristotle and Descartes would be proud.

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