MLS NEXT Pro Match Report

Match report: Orlando City B 1-3 Philadelphia Union II

Photo: Ben Ross

Philadelphia Union II secured its second away win of the season against Orlando City B at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee Florida Sunday night.

They scored first early in the second half, conceded a late equalizer, and then scored twice more at the end of the match to secure the win. Their two late goals were direct results of Quinn Sullivan’s determination, ball-winning, and lung-busting running. He had helpers on both.

Matt Real, Jesus Bueno, and Nelson Pierre scored Union II’s three goals.

Each side’s starting goalkeeper was sent off for infractions, Union II’s during the run of play and Orlando’s for an unforgivable brain cramp during the second half’s hydration break.

The win ended two months of futility for the team from Philadelphia.

Anticipations

Union II played Orlando B the evening after the Union played Orlando City, so extra reinforcements were both possible and present.

With Stuart Findlay’s departure Brandan Craig is the third first-team center back. He needs further center back experience but his availability now depends on Jack Elliott and Jakob Glesnes remaining indestructible. Jesus Bueno became the available defensive midfielder. Cole Turner’s absence is unexplained. Chris Donovan played less than 15 minutes at striker Saturday night, so he stayed over and played. Bedoya’s suspension and the injuries to Cory Burke and Jose Martinez meant Jack McGlynn was not available. With Kai Wagner in continued yellow card accumulation jeopardy, game minutes for Matt Real were a priority. First-team lead TV commentator J.P. Dellacamera said in so many words that Matt Freese would start in goal. Jack Jasinski remained away for family reasons, and Stefan Stojanovic and Gino Portella continue in injury recovery.

Orlando B lists a huge roster with the league, twelve more than the supposed maximum although several names have no appearances or minutes listed. We surmise that since they did not play in an organized league last year, they are evaluating a surfeit of candidates this season. Teenagers are well represented as indicated below.

Players under 20
Orlando (47) Union II (31)
Keep 4/6 67% Keep 2/5 40%
Defs 8/17 47% Defs 4/10 40%
Mids 9/14 64% Mids 7/12 57%
Fwds 6/10 60% Fwds 2/4 50%

(Small data sets require caution. Joe Bendik’s single game in a Union II goal drops that percentage 10 full points.)

Recently against opponents lying higher in the table, Orlando has played a 5-4-1 formation, which can be seen as a defensive derivative of the 3-4-3 they played Sunday night. Only against clearly lesser teams have they come out in a 4-3-3. They do not seem tied to their first team tactically. They do have a few loan-downs, but not as many as Union II who started seven on the night.

First Half

The match began at a high pace of back-and-forth play with Orlando trying to fast-break at every opportunity. Union II’s offside trap caught them five times within the the first twenty minutes. The Floridians had the better chances to score, with at least one solo break onto Matt Freese in net with a rebound played back in off the crossbar. Fortunately for Philly their shooting boots were elsewhere.

Towards the end of the half Union II began to develop more possession and some actual shots on goal. Sullivan tested Orlando goalkeeper Javier Otero crisply from reasonable distances.

Union’s best threat came in first half stoppage time from Anton Sorenson, playing in the right not the left channel. His hard shot from the outside right was  deflected by Otero and a subsequent redirected rebound was cleared by center back Thomas Williams.

Second Half

Once again head coach Marlon LeBlanc’s halftime process produced a whirlwind of offense as the second half opened. The first ten minutes saw Union II dominate Orlando with its high press. And in the 51st minute Brandan Craig delivered a Union corner kick from the left to the head of Chris Donovan on the right side of the box. The striker nodded it back across to Matt Real who headed it home for the left back’s second U II goal in as many games and the lead.

Eighteen minutes later a resurgent Orlando sent a through ball beyond  the Union II back line that was going to die before it made it into the penalty area. Matt Freese had read it well and come off his line but at the last second realized he could not use his hands. His slide tackle was adjudged both a foul and a denial of a goal scoring opportunity by the last man back. He received a red card. Boubacar Diallo came off so that Brooks Thompson could replace Freese in goal. Orlando striker Jack Lynn slammed the free kick into the wall, collected the rebound and slammed it again only to have Thompson make the save.

Orlando had been getting back into the game already, and now with Union II playing a man down the purple lion cubs had the bit between their teeth.

Then the needed hydration break came at the 75th minute, and Orlando keeper Otero suffered his brain cramp. Apparently he struck a ball into the Union II bench, was seen, and was sent off on a straight red card for violent conduct. The last 15 minutes plus stoppage would be played ten versus ten. Orlando sacrificed Ignacio Galvan to bring on 17-year-old goalkeeper Dominic Pereira for his professional debut. At the same time they replaced first-team striker Jack Lynn with 17-year-old Ethan Subachan.

Neither side looked sure of coverage assignments in the ten v ten situation. Both tended to leave flank attackers on the opposite wing unmarked. In the 80th minute an unmarked Orlando player on the flank had a seemingly glorious opportunity to tie but was flagged for offside. In the 83rd minute Orlando’s Diego Pareja picked up a yellow card, a seeming minor event at the time. And two minutes later a ball sent from the central channel forward and to the right for Moises Tablante was then crossed all the way across to a completely unmarked Subachan, who did not miss the easy target.

On what was almost the subsequent play, Sullivan busted his lungs in the midfield, stole a pass from an Orlando player, and carried the ball forward to the right corner of the box. His rifle shot from distance took the slightest deflection from Jesus Bueno and Union II were back ahead by the 87th minute.

Orlando tried hard for an equalizer making themselves vulnerable to counters. In the first minute of stoppage time an excellent combination play started by a Sullivan thrust gave Nelson Pierre an unimpeded chance to shoot on a net defended only by the young keeper. But the Union II striker missed and Orlando remained alive.

But two and half minutes after that miss, Sullivan once again won the ball and started an attack. The Orlando midfield was caught out completely giving the boys in light blue and yellow a three on three at the edge of the box, and this time Pierre did not miss. He whipped off his shirt and took his yellow card, and the teams went back to the center circle, Orlando frustratedly angry and Union II in slow, relaxed celebration.

Before play could tap off, a melee broke out and the two ringleaders both received yellow cards. Maike Villero received the Union’s mustard. But it was Pereira who took it for Orlando, and it was his second, so he was sent off and Orlando was down to nine men in the sixth minute of stoppage.

In the 98th minute Thompson had to make a save on a free kick, but then the final whistle blew.

Next match & standings

Union II next host current league leaders Columbus Crew 2 for the second time at Subaru Park on Sunday, July 31 at 7 pm. Philadelphia lies seventh in the Eastern Conference table.  Six points separate them from playoff qualification with nine matches left to play. They remain last in the Northeast division.

Postponed match rescheduled

The Columbus Crew 2 match at old Crew Stadium in Ohio’s capital, which was postponed from Saturday, July 2, has been rescheduled to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, August 27. It becomes Union II’s third match between Sunday August 21 and Saturday August 27. It occurs the second day after having played NYC FC II at St. Johns University’s Belson Stadium in New York City.  Since the first team also plays on the 20th and the 27th, Union II’s roster for the Thursday NYC FC match will be a challenging puzzle for the technical staff to solve.

Three Points
  1. First team down to 20. With Jose Martinez and now Matt Freese suspended against Houston, if Cory Burke remains in concussion protocol the first team will have only 20 players available for the match. The mystery of Cole Turner looms a bit larger therefore since he is would be of the 20.
  2. Hooray for flying to the Sunshine State! Both of Union II’s away wins this season have come in Florida.
  3. Keystone Sports’ spending. The 2022 season is one in which recovery from the financial losses of the pandemic is occurring around the league. But Keystone Sports has eschewed saving money through consolidating travel expenses. Flying to central Florida costs more than bussing to Washington, DC, Harrison, NJ, or the Bronx. But Union II travelled to Orlando separately from the first team. The practice time lost is more highly valued than the dollars saved.
BOXSCORE
Lineups

Union II: (4-4-2, L-R): Matt Freese (Brooks Thompson 72′); Matt Real, Brandan Craig, Nathan Nkanji, Anton Sorenson; Juan Perdomo (Bajung Darboe 66′), Jesus Bueno, Boubacar Diallo 72′, Quinn Sullivan; Chris Donovan (Maike Villero 82′), Jose Riasco (Nelson Pierre 66′). Unused Substitutes: Frank Westfield, Luke Martelli, Logan Oliver,  Carlos Paternina, Anthony Ramirez. Distribution: 1st – 7, 2nd – 7, Am – 6. Injury rehab: Stefan Stojanovic, Gino Portella. Away: Jack Jasinski.

OCB: (3-4-3, L-R):Javier Otero (Dominic Pereira 77′); Thomas Williams, Nicolas Taylor (Tahir Reid-Brown 90+1), Andrew Forth; Ignacio Galvan (77′), Victor Yan, Alejandro Granados (Diego Pareja 57′, 90+6′), Alexander Freeman; Moises Tablante, Jack Lynn (Ethan Subachan 79′), Favian Loyola. Unused Substitutes: ; Brandon Hackenberg, , Dominic Bell,  Diego Valles, Ian Silva.

Goals

U II       51st minute      Matt Real (Chris Donovan, Brandan Craig)

OCB      85th minute     Ethan Subachan (Alexander Freeman)

U II       87th minute     Jesus Bueno (Quinn Sullivan)

U II       90+4 minute    Nelson Pierre (Quinn Sullivan)

Cards

U II         9th minute     yellow     Juan Perdomo (delay)

U II       24th minute     yellow     Boubacar Diallo (foul)

U II       69th minute     red         Matt Freese (DOGSO)

OCB      77th minute     red         Javier Otero (violent conduct)

OCB      82nd minute   yellow    Diego Pareja (foul)

U II      90+4 minute    yellow    Nelson Pierre (excessive celebration)

OCB     90+6 minute   red          Diego Pareja (second yellow)

U II      90+6 minute   yellow     Maike Villero (argument)

Whistle

Ref: Anya Voigt, AR1: Melissa Gonzalez, AR2: Rhett Hammil, 4TH: Daniel Gutierrez

Stats

U II

  OCB U II  

OCB

39.4

Possession %

60.6

2 Offsides

6

22

Shots 15 40 Duels won

43

10

Shots on goal 5 12 Tackles won

5

4

Blocked shots 3 4 Saves

6

258

Total passes 410 10 Clearances

19

72.1

Passing accuracy % 81.2 13 Fouls

7

5

Corners 3 2 Yellow cards

4

12

Crosses 10 2 Red cards 1

6 Comments

  1. so our GK, red carded in this match, is not allowed to play with the first team on Saturday?

    • Andy Muenz says:

      I’m confused about that too. I’m thinking that not only should he be available Saturday, he should also be available for the Union 2 on Sunday and under the new MLSNext rules, he (and the two Orlando players who saw red) should miss the game against Orlando B on September 11.

  2. Tim Jones says:

    Andy’s point about the new red card rule is worth further examination.
    .
    I quoted it in full from the MLS NEXT Pro website at the end of previous match report.
    .
    By memory only, I seem to recall that if the second match against the offended team has already occurred and there is not a third, the suspension reverts back to the old system of being served in the next available match.
    .
    But anyone interested should please double-check and recheck my memory.

  3. Tim Jones says:

    My memory is that the Union used a loophole available by playing in two idffer3ent leagues with their very first homegrown player. He got a red in a first-team match and promptly went to Harrisburg and played for City Islanders.
    .
    I think I remember that in consequence the rule was changed to prevent such circumventing of the suspension.
    .
    I apologize for forgetting the young man’s name.
    .
    I freely state that I am making an assumption that Freese is suspended no matter which league. Since MLS NEXT Pro is a creature of MLS, I suspect I’m correct. But I do not know that.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      If that is the case, it’s an interesting question as to which game(s) he would be suspended for given the new rule for MLSNext. I suppose theoretically, it could be both games against Orlando (Orlando and Orlando B) the weekend of September 10.

  4. Tim Jones says:

    Here is the relevant section of the new MLS NEXT Pro red card suspension rule.
    .
    “Other Considerations:
    “Regular Season: All suspensions must be served during the same regular season, except in the event a red card occurs on the final game of the regular season. For example, if Team A does not play Team B again the remainder of the season, Team A’s player who received the red card would serve his 1 game suspension in the next regular season game.”
    .
    I agree with Andy’s analysis above with one tweek. I do not think Freese can be suspended for both of those matches against Orlando on the weekend of September 10. I think he can be suspended for either of them but not both because two games for a red card takes action from the disciplinary committee above and beyond the referee.
    .
    We all need to remember that this is the first year of the league and the first month or thereabouts of the red card rule change. Freese’s situation on the weekend of September 10th will require clarification, most likely, since, most likely, this is the first time the circumstance has arisen.

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