Match previews

Match preview: Orlando City SC vs Philadelphia Union

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

Who: Philadelphia Union (10-9-2, 39 points) vs. Orlando City SC (8-6-7, 30 points)

What: 2022 MLS Regular Season (Week 22)

Where: Exploria Stadium, Orlando, Florida

When:  July 23, 2022 at 7:30 p.m. (Eastern)

Watch: PHL17, ESPN+

Whistle: Referee: Alex Chilowicz. Assistant referees: Corey Parker, Jason White. Fourth official: Sergii Demianchuk. VAR: Jair Marrufo. Ast. VAR: Jeff Muschik.

Philadelphia Union will look to make it four wins in four and extend their lead at the top of the Eastern Conference tomorrow night when they travel to central Florida for a clash with Orlando City SC.

The Union’s first trip to Orlando this year came back in May, when a rotated side lost 2-1 in the U.S. Open Cup. It’s one of just three losses suffered by the Union this season, so the visitors will be looking for a bit of revenge. But Orlando will be no slouch, clocking in at fifth in the East. And Philly will have to make do without their captain, Alejandro Bedoya, who’s suspended for yellow card accumulation.

Scouting Report: Orlando City SC

Oscar Pareja’s Lions are in the playoff picture, but wins have been hard to come by in recent weeks, with just three in the last eleven MLS matches. Orlando will also be dealing with self-caused fixture congestion, having lost to Arsenal in a midweek friendly after a dramatic 1-1 draw with Atlanta United last Sunday.

The purple people eaters are led up top by Ercan Kara and Facundo Torres, who have seven and four goals respectively this season. Mauricio Pereyra, who scored a free kick goal against Atlanta, will pull the strings behind the attackers, while Cesar Arujo will likely anchor the midfield behind him.

In net, Peruvian international Pedro Gallese is one of the better keepers in MLS.

Orlando hasn’t been quiet in the transfer market this summer. The club just announced the acquisition of American winger Nicholas Giacchini from Ligue 2’s Stade Malherbe Caen this week. It’s not known whether the 21-year-old attacker, who won the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup with the USMNT, will be ready to make his debut in purple on Saturday night.

Injury Report:  Out: Mason Stajduhar (jaw). Questionable: Adam Grinwis (right upper extremity), Joao Moutinho (right lower leg).

Scouting report: Philadelphia Union

It’s been all sunshine and lollipops for the Union recently, with the club having ripped off three straight wins by a combined score of 11-2.

But Orlando — a current playoff team — presents a different challenge than their last three opponents. (It’s hard to say whether D.C. United would have any success in a CASA League game right now.)

The task will be made more complicated without captain Alejandro Bedoya, who picked up a yellow card against New England Revolution and earned a suspension for this match as a result. To replace him in the standard 4-4-2 diamond, Jim Curtin is likely choosing between Homegrowns Jack McGlynn and Quinn Sullivan. Or he could start with the same 4-2-3-1 that the club started last week against New England, with Paxten Aaronson starting over one of the two strikers.

On the bright side for Philly, Jack Elliott trained in full this week and is expected to return after missing two games in a row with a knee injury. He’ll partner with Jakob Glesnes in the middle of a defense that has been the stingiest by far in MLS, conceding just 15 goals in 21 matches. If the knee flares up, though, it’ll be up to Homegrown Brandan Craig to fill in, with Stuart Findlay completing his move to Oxford United earlier this week.

Injury Report: Questionable: Jack Elliott (knee) 

Suspended: Alejandro Bedoya

Key Matchup:  Ercan Kara vs. Jakob Glesnes

The Union have marginalized most teams’ top scorers this season. Kara will likely be no exception.

Player to Watch: Leon Flach

Without his usual midfield partner in Bedoya, there will be pressure on Flach to elevate his game.

Prediction:  Philadelphia Union 3-1 Orlando City

The goals keep coming in the Florida heat.

4 Comments

  1. I like your prediction. I think thr U win. But I think we keep a clean sheet.

    Also check out your first couple lines. I think we already beat the Revs…and with that in mind the U win this 2/0. DOOPDOOPDOOP!!

  2. Ironic,isn’t it? Bedoya forced to rest by outside force. He needs it to stay on the safe side of injury concern. Need him healthy down the stretch.

  3. Murphthesurf says:

    Beat the Cowerdly Lions ! DOOP ⚽️

  4. Union fan says:

    Nice bit of fortune that it was mid to upper 90s in Philly all week. Hopefully the U will be acclimatized to the sort of weather they will see down here- one less roadblock they will face.

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