Match previews

Match preview: Philadelphia Union vs Orlando City

Photo by Howie Pollard

Who: Philadelphia Union (2021: 8-8-7, 32 points, 9th place in the East) vs. Orlando City FC (10-8-6, 38 points, 3rd place in the East)

What: 2021 MLS Regular Season.  

Where: Subaru Park,  Chester, PA

When: Sunday September 19 at 4:00 p.m. (Eastern)

Watch: ESPN

Whistle:  Not available at time of publishing  

The Union finally return to league play on Sunday where they meet Orlando City for an afternoon match in the friendly confines of Subaru Park. It feels as if an eon has passed since the youngsters took to the pitch to meet up with New England, ultimately falling by a 1-0 score. And of course in between there was Wednesday’s CONCACAF match against Club America where despite a strong effort, the home team was unable to prevail.

The league sides last met on July 22 down in Florida with Orlando walking away with a 2-1 victory. The game was a microcosm of the Union’s season thus far. Giving up an early goal, lots of ball watching on defense and lots of possession and opportunities on the offensive side  – but the inability to finish. The Union hold a 4-4-5 lifetime record against Orlando

This match will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.  Your first-place Eagles play at 1:00 on Sunday so as that game finishes, you can slide right into this match. Be sure you are well stocked up on bourbon and Slim Jims as a long afternoon of sports watching awaits.

Scouting Report: Orlando City FC

Orlando City comes into this match having lost two straight matches – a 3-0 drubbing by Atlanta last week and a 4-2 loss to Montreal on Wednesday.  These losses follow a 7 game unbeaten run.  They still sit in third place, just 3 points behind Nashville for second.

The Lions in a 4-2-3-1. They typically build out of the back and through the wings employing a “purposeful” possession based philosophy – but aren’t afraid to hit one over the top if the opportunity presents itself.  And as the Union have seen, they aren’t afraid to park the bus with a lead.

Orlando finally has their full lineup available (well sot of) – stocked with household names.  Forward Daryl Dike is back from loan at Barnsley and international duty.  Midfielders Maurico Pereyra is back and Chris Mueller is sticking around until the end of the season before shipping off to Hiberian in Scotland.  Nani has cooled off a bit from a torrid start but still has 9 goals and 7 assists to his name. But the Union will catch a break as the Brazilina picked up a red card against Montreal and will be disqualified (as will midfielder Andres Perea who also picked up a red).

Not unlike the Union, Orlando’s defense has been solid and keeps them in the game. Their back four likes to push teams wide and use their fullbacks to control the play.  Two of those players, Ruan and Juao Mouthino, are back together after an injury-plagued start to the season.

Injury report:  Not available at time of publishing

Suspended:  Nani, Andres Perea

Scouting report: Union

Should one stop and look at the MLS Eastern Conference standings, one might be a bit surprised. The Union find themselves in ninth place, below the playoff line.  Inter Miami is ahead of the Union! How did this happen?

As the team catches its collective breath following Wednesday’s loss to Club America they’ll need to refocus and play with the intensity to which Union fans have grown accustomed. Orlando is not the easiest opponent by far but they will be playing sans their best player (Nani) and the match is at Subaru Park – where the Union have dominated in the recent past.  

Only three teams in the MLS  have allowed fewer goals than the Union, so defense is not the issue. The problem has been scoring goals, and despite the Union’s lack of a productive striker corps, the real problem comes from the midfield. The attacking midfielders have not been able to work through the middle in any meaningful way and instead the entirety of the Union’s attack seems to come via hopeful crosses. Daniel Gazdag did not start on Wednesday, but expect that he will be out there at the 10 with another of the Union’s underperforming midfielders, Jamiro Monteiro, at the 8.

Orlando has a lot of attacking talent so the back line will need to keep up their good work. With Andre Blake in goal, it is really only the matter of the Union scoring a goal or two in order to gain some much needed points

Injury Report:   Not available at time of publishing

Suspension Report:  None

Key Matchup:  Union Offense vs Orlando FC Defense

The Union need to score some goals and they are going up against a stout Orlando defense.

Player(s) to Watch: Daniel Gazdag and Jamiro Monteiro

Gazdag was brought in to help out the offense as the number 10 but thus far has been largely ineffective. Monteiro has been in a run of bad form. These are the guys that have to excel in order for the Union to succeed.

Prediction:  Philadelphia 2-1 Orlando


Philadelphia Union:    –105

Orlando City FC:   +275

Draw:   +280

Vegas thinks the Union are coming back.


  1. I really really hope we win.

    I’m already at the point where I think the starting line up needs to be tweaked a bit (Sullivan in, Montiero at the 8, etc) but man if we do not start getting results and we stay out of the playoffs, that would be rough.

    I have thoroughly enjoyed our recent success so much that it is weird to be on the outside looking in.

  2. Not sure why you are encouraging people to tune in to the game after watching the Eagles game rather than recording the second half of the Eagles or watching it on their phones and actually going to the Union game. Given that they will likely be short on fans due to said gridiron game, the Union can probably use all the fans showing up as they can get (although I’m sure it will be much quieter than Wednesday was).
    (Fortunately I don’t have to worry about the Eagles game since my team lost the battle last night to see who could be more incompetent and were gifted a second chance at the game winning field goal after missing their first try.)

    • I absolutely love the Union (and eagles) but, no matter what the union ever do the will never be as big as the eagles so just take it for what it is……o and Giants suck, have fun with that this year haha..……I’m still a fan of your comments though

      • In Tanner We Trust says:

        I think he’s a Washington fan, he said he lost the battle of incompetence. I say it every year, NFC East is the worst division in the league. That being said, if Washington can straighten themselves out they’ll be very dangerous come January.

      • In Tanner We Trust is correct, I am a fan of the Football Team and have been since I was 6 years old in 1971 and first remember watching football (and I hope they keep that as their name because it is so much like a soccer team name).
        I understand that nothing is as big as the Eagles here and I expect to lose fans who have their choice of games to go to tomorrow. That being said, we should encourage people not actually attending the Eagles game to head down to Chester rather than watching both games on TV.

      • Sry for mis-placing your fandom Andy, all I saw was “lost the battle of incompetence” and knew that’s a giants fan haha..while we are on the subject, I picked the football team to win division, the d line is scary…And I’m with you in terms of trying to get and encourage people down there, I’ve had season tickets since 2012 and try to bring a few new faces down every year, as I’m sure most of us STHs do…..but the sentiment remains…the Football teams sucks…good luck this year

      • In Tanner We Trust says:

        Imagine if they became Washington Football Club, aka Washington FC.

  3. 0-1-2 at home vs Orlando. Just 4 wins in their last 15 overall. People need to be playing for their jobs and coaching for their future employment beginning tomorrow. Does anyone here believe that can happen?

  4. 4-5-6 in their last 15 MLS games.

  5. For the record I think Nani is Portuguese. We caught a break with him out due to suspension.

  6. Brazilina? Nani is portuguese lol. So looks like we are rolling out the same lineup ……how in the world is curtin the best coach in mls? hopefully this sentence will come back to bite me

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