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Match report: Orlando City SC 0-1 Philadelphia Union

Daniel Gazdag scored the only goal of the game as VAR was on the Philadelphia Union’s side as they defeated Orlando City 1-0 on Saturday evening in Florida. Gazdag was adjudged to be onside when he flicked on Jakob Glesnes’ header just before halftime. And then it was Gazdag himself who escaped a VAR review late in stoppage time when he was found not guilty of a foul in the Philadelphia box.

Jim Curtin reverted to his preferred 4-4-2 and made three changes to the team that defeated New England last weekend. Jack Elliott returned from injury to take his place in the back line, while Olivier Mbaizo was preferred to Nathan Harriel. Mikkel Uhre partnered Julian Carranza up top as the Union returned to a two striker set with Paxten Aaronson moving to the bench. Jack McGlynn kept his place in the starting lineup, moving into the right side of midfield for the suspended Alejandro Bedoya.

The opening chance of the match came to Orlando in the 28th minute. Facundo Torres found himself in acres of space on the right side, but with just Andre Blake to beat, the winger curled his effort wide of the left post.

Philadelphia Union would take the lead in the 39th minute through Gazdag. For the third straight game, it was a set piece that would provide the goal. Jakob Glesnes got a head to Kai Wagner’s near post corner kick  and Gazdag was stationed right in front of Orlando goalkeeper Pedro Gallese to flick home from close range. The goal was initially chalked off for offside but after a VAR review, Gazdag was given his 10th goal of the season.

The second half was a start-stop affair with two Philadelphia Union players having to be substituted due to injury. Jose Martinez requested a sub in the 68th minute with an apparent injury to his upper body and Cory Burke, himself a second half sub, was forced off with a head injury in the 83rd minute.

Orlando responded with six subs of their own (receiving an additional sub due to Cory Burke’s concussion substitution) and possessed the ball for most of the second half but were only able to cut out half chances.

There was a big flash point in the 95th minute when referee Alex Chilowicz went to the video review monitor to check a potential penalty. But it seemed to be that both Antonio Carlos and Daniel Gazdag had each other’s jerseys and no penalty kick was called.

The win means the Union remain top of the table in the Eastern Conference for the weekend, one point in front of NYCFC who have a game in hand. They are next in action on Saturday when they host Houston Dynamo (7:30 p.m.)

Three Points

  • Three points. It wasn’t pretty, but the Union won their fourth straight. On a hot Saturday in Orlando, coming home with three points is a positive.
  • Ugly. But man was that an ugly soccer match. Some well worked set pieces in the first half earned the Union a third straight game with a set piece goal. The second half saw Orlando with much of the ball without creating many clear cut opportunities as a tenacious Philly team harassed and muddied up the rate of play. There were also a lot of misplaced passes.
  • Injuries. Jose Martinez came off with what looked like a shoulder injury and Cory Burke was forced off with a head injury. Jim Curtin will hope neither are out for any significant period.

Philadelphia Union

Andre Blake, Jack Elliott, Jakob Glesnes, José Martínez (Paxten Aaronson 68′), Kai Wagner, Olivier Mbaizo, Dániel Gazdag, Leon Flach, Jack McGlynn, Mikkel Uhre (Cory Burke 59′, Quinn Sullivan 83′), Julián Carranza (Chris Donovan 89′)
Subs: Nathan Harriel, Jesús Bueno, Matthew Real, Joe Bendik, Brandan Craig

Orlando City SC

Pedro Gallese, Joao Moutinho (Antonio Carlos 80′), Rodrigo Schlegel, Robin Jansson, Ruan (Junior Urso 75′), César Araujo, Andrés Perea (Alexandre Pato 61′), Jake Mulraney (Benji Michel 46′), Facundo Torres, Ercan Kara (Jack Lynn 89′), Mauricio Pereyra (Tesho Akindele 75′)
Subs: Adam Grinwis, Michael Halliday, Kyle Smith

Scoring Summary

PHI – Daniel Gazdag – 39′ (Glesnes, Wagner)

Disciplinary Summary

PHI: Jose Martinez – 8′ (foul)
ORL: Ecran Kara – 31′ (foul)
ORL: Joao Moutinho – 37′ (dissent)
PHI: Julian Carranza – 44′ (not retreating)
ORL: Cesar Araujo – 63′ (foul)


  1. Andy Muenz says:

    Strong defensive effort.
    Martinez’ yellow leading to a suspension was much more acceptable than Bedoya’s last week (although it was created by two misplays by Martinez himself, a poor job putting the ball back in the box followed by a poor job at winning the free ball just before the foul).
    Good to see Elliott back.
    Wagner only needs 4 more assists to have as many assists as the team has goals allowed.
    Great job by Chilowicz on both VAR calls. It took awhile, but there was one clear shot that the defender’s foot was behind Gazdag at the moment of the header. And then correctly calling the foul on the Orlando player rather than on Gazdag at the end.
    Would have liked to see Carranza’s shot from his own side of the field go in. At the very least it was good awareness to know where Gallese was.

  2. As noted, it was an ugly game to watch. There was very little fluid play, the dribbling was workmanlike at best with both teams preferring to try to beat defenders with speed rather than guile. If Ilsinho would have been available, he would have been a breath of fresh air on a muggy night in Florida.
    It was good to see McGlynn start although I wonder if the Union wouldn’t have been better served switching Flach and McGlynn and let them use their dominant feet to stretch the width of the field.
    I’m glad the U got the win but I can already hear the “Union’s check to the ref must have been bigger” comments. It was a surprise to me to see the calls go for the Union but I’m not complaining with the result.

  3. OneManWolfpack says:

    Definitely not the prettiest game but it sure was a fantastic defensive effort. To force Orlando backwards in like the 101st min, when all they had to do was lump it forward, was incredible to see, and a great exclamation point on the night – defensively.
    The defensive composure when they are under pressure is just something I still can’t get used to. They rarely panic. Sometimes it causes additional issues, but they are very confident, and typically take care of business. Just a sight to see, game after game.
    Not a whole lot offensively, and they really need to pass better and stop turning it over. But with that heat and humidity I expected a sloppy 1-0 type game. 3 more points and now go home and beat Houston

    • Excellent point about the quality defensive work and the conditioning of the team. I was really impressed to see Gazdag continuing to press late into second half stoppage. The guy is a beast and you are correct, it’s much easier to play defense when the ball is in the ither team’s hf if the field. Especially late in the game.

  4. el Pachyderm says:

    It’s all going according to plan.
    I can nit pick a bunch of stuff and maybe will this week if I can find some time away from school but not tonight, when you’ve taken 12 pts from 4 games – you just tip the hat and say well done even if it was not very appealing to the eye.
    I like Jack McGlyn. A lot. He makes the eschewing of the ball much more tolerable for me. When it’s his turn with it I feel like the Tootsie Pop Owl.
    Ida liked seeing Paxten bend the ball far corner in the exquisite pass Jack got him in behind on.
    All going accordingly.

    • Yes. Though, it looked like he thought Quinn (I think) was going to finish the run for a Chicarito-esque back post tap in. Instead, Quinn (?) stopped the run cold.

      • 100% agree, that was a pass. Though too Pach’s point, a shot there would have been nice too.

      • Deez Nuggs says:

        Quinn checked up on a clear shot opportunity inside the box too and chose to pass, which ended up being a giveaway. Not sure why.

    • Love the Tootsie Pop owl reference. Can still hear that: “One, Two, ::crunch:: Three…. Three.”

  5. Tim Jones says:

    With Burke perhaps concussed, and Martínez suspended they will have 21 players available from which to select the Houston game day 20.
    That”s a bit thin in terms of roster depth, especially since Carranza now joins Wagner as one yellow away from suspension.
    Everyone will talk about Gazdag’s goals, rightly so. Equal emphasis should be given to his lungs and legs.

  6. Good, perceptive article. Thanks!

    I actually nodded off watching this one. But three points on the road and four wins on the fly! Right on!

    Nice to see a Philly lad sign for my hometown club in Leeds. Aaronson looks the part, from what I can tell. Only saw him once for the US and was impressed by his speed and vision.

    Cheers all around…

    • Andy Muenz says:

      Only problem with Aaronson going to Leeds is that now I want to watch almost twice as many premier league games which won’t make my wife happy…

  7. 6th best Midfielder in MLS, someone mentioned last week?


    Ugly win, but a win.

    Here’s to hosting MLS Cup in Chester!


  8. Chris Gibbons says:

    The MLS highlights for this game are 2 minutes long, and a decent part of it is replaying the goal and watching the VAR review – that tells you all you need to know about how much action there was.

    All. 3. Points.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      They should get two long segments on Instant Replay this week.

      • Deez Nuggs says:

        Lol. The nice part about that is the opinions there can’t roll back a win. So let them opine all they want.

    • LOL, I missed this match, so I just watched the 4-minute MLS highlights, and I was like, “That’s it?? Geez this game must’ve been ugly. Lemme go see what the PSP peeps had to say about it.”
      So, question answered.

  9. Anyone else a bit shocked by the poor turnout? That was a half-empty stadium. I know it was hot, but that’s Florida, isn’t it? Any Orlando fans who started home might feel justified by the results and the quality of the game…. But I thought Orlando was a better supported team than that.

    • Just learned that the game took place at the same time as a Chelsea Arsenal friendly in Orlando. I guess that explains it.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        Have to question some of these scheduling decisions. I have no intention of going to the women’s game at Subaru Park on August 20 that they keep advertising on the games because it is in direct conflict with a Union game at DC. Do they really think I’m going to pay to watch a game between two teams I don’t care about when my favorite team is playing on TV?

      • Originally Arsenal v Chelsea was slotted for the afternoon (I was doing a double header back to back games w/ my brother and we had to split). They moved it to 8pm for heat… which killed the atmosphere, but hey lots of Philly fans so that was cool. I got to make it over!

    • I thought the same thing until I saw on the reddit game thread that Chelsea Arsenal was happening less than a mile away.

  10. Deez Nuggs says:

    Why is it that playing Orlando is always like a CONCACAF game? It’s like they set out to injure people. Remember Klejstan’s tackle on Jamiro?
    Whatever. A win. Hoping that game off is enough for Jose to recover from his bruises. Unfortunately looked like Cory has a concussion. He’ll be out a while.
    You could spot the moment when the heat finally got to the Union. Sloppy passes. No possession upfield. Luckily the defense stayed locked down.

  11. A game to survive and they (mostly) did. Stat to sum up the game? Shots on goal-Union 1, Orlando 1.

    Danny spotted the shirt pull by the Orlando player on the replay before the VAR decision which explained the call much better than the highlights (which didn’t even show that the call was changed to a foul on Orlando).

    Agree with post above that this will get a good chunk of Instant Replay time this week.

    Lastly, YouTube highlights tend to be longer than MLS website and Instant Replay has more footage on YouTube as well.

  12. Jr. Urso's head wound. says:

    Thought Jake had himself a game last night.

  13. Didn’t see it. Feel like I’m sorry most of you did! Win the games they should. This a new chapter in Union history! I know your not always going to,but they win now more than losing or ties. So progress. Good read and sounds like solid effort by the boys! Guess I need ESPN+ for out of market viewing!

  14. Andy Muenz says:

    Union 2 game against Orlando was INSANE! Union 2 won 3-1 with 2 late goals about 90 seconds after giving up the tying goal. At the time it was 10 on 10 with both keepers having been sent off, Freese for DOGSO and then 5 minutes later the Orlando goalie for kicking the ball at the Union bench while walking off for the hydration break! (Orlando also had a player get a second yellow in the scuffle after the Union’s 3rd goal.)
    We’ll see the effects of the league’s new red card policy when the players won’t miss their next game but will instead miss the September 11 rematch between these teams.
    I’m guessing Tim Jones will have more details when he writes up his match summary.

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