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Match preview: Philadelphia Union vs Orlando City SC

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

Who: Philadelphia Union vs Orlando City SC

What: MLS Regular Season

Where: Subaru Park, Chester, Pennsylvania

When: Saturday, March 25th, 7:30pm

Watch: Apple TV (Free)

Whistle: Allen Chapman; Brian Dunn, Justin Howard; Luis Diego Arroyo; Alejandro Mariscal, Mike Kampmeinert

The Philadelphia Union and Orlando City SC will meet on Saturday night in Chester with heavily rotated squads, as the teams are missing a combined total of fourteen players due to international duty. Philadelphia will also be without star striker Julian Carranza who will miss the match due to a red card he was issued in last week’s game against Montreal. Andre Blake will also miss out for Philadelphia, as he is recovering from a groin injury.

Scouting Report: Orlando City SC

Currently sitting 9th in the Eastern Conference, Orlando City has only notched one win on the season so far along with 2 draws and a loss in MLS play. In Champions League, the Lions managed to draw Mexico’s Tigres twice, but were eliminated due to away goals scored. Oscar Parjea will be looking to right the ship in league play after Orlando’s early exit.

Orlando will be without several key starters though. Goalkeeper Pedro Gallese and Wilder Cartagena are away with Peru, while star forward Facundo Torres is with Uruguay. Being without 3 starters is hard enough, yet Orlando will also be short on bench options as reserve players Thomas Williams, Mikey Halliday, Alex Freeman and Favian Loyola are all away with the USMNT youth teams.

Looking to replace the attacking threat left by Facundo Torres, Designated Player Martin Ojeda will look to build after scoring his first Orlando goal last week. The 24 year old had been in the Argentine Primera Division prior to joining Orlando. Rookie Ducan McGuire will also be looking to make an impact, as the sixth overall pick in the 2023 draft is set to get another start this weekend.

A threat in midfield for Orlando is Mauricio Pereya, with the central midifielder providing 11 assists last season for the Lions. Providing a more defensive threat in midfield alongside Pereya is Cesar Araujo.

In the back the partnership of Rodrigio Schlegel and Robin Jansson will hold down a stout Orlando defense. On the right side will be Rafael Santos, who will look to be more of a wing back with his speed. In goal is backup keeper Mason Stajduhar, who will be filling in for Gallese this weekend.

Injury Report: None

International Duty: Wilder Cartagena (M, Peru), Alexander Freeman (D, USA U-19), Michael Halliday (D, USA U-20), Pedro Gallese (GK, Peru), Favian Loyola (M, USA U-19), Facundo Torres (F, Urugauy), Thomas Williams (D, USA U-20)

Scouting Report: Philadelphia Union

Much like the visiting side, Philadelphia Union will also be without 3 starters and several depth pieces. Daniel Gazdag and Jose Martinez are away on international duty. Depth pieces Quinn Sullivan, Jack McGlynn, Brandan Craig have been called up to the USMNT youth teams. Also called up were Damian Lowe and Richard Odada. To make matters worse for the Union, Julian Carranza will miss the match due to red card suspension and Andre Blake is still sidelined with a groin injury.

Mikael Uhre will look to gain momentum on his two goal outing against Montreal last weekend. He will most likely be paired with Chris Donovan up top, with Nelson Pierre waiting on the bench.

The midfield will see some shakeup as Joaquin Torres will likely take Gazdag’s spot at the top of the diamond. Andres Perea will fill in for Jose Martinez at the base. Leon Flach and Alejandro Bedoya will feature in their usual spots for the Union.

In defense the Union will be mostly unchanged. No starters are out due to international duty, leaving Jakob Glesnes and Jack Elliott in the center, with Kai Wagner and Olivier Mbaizo on the wings. In goal will be Joe Bendik, with Holden Trent backing him up.

Injury Report: Andre Blake – Out

International Duty: Brandan Craig (D, USA U-20), Dániel Gazdag (M, Hungary), Damion Lowe (D, Jamaica), José Martínez (M, Venezuela), Jack McGlynn (M, USA U-20), Richard Odada (M, Kenya), Quinn Sullivan (M, USA U-20)

Key Match-Up: Battle of Depth

Both teams are missing key starters in this matchup, as well as some first choice depth. It will be interesting to see which side will have game speed reserves after both featured in Champions League matchups the past two weeks.

Player to Watch: Joaquin Torres

Torres has proven he is an asset off the bench, but he will still be looking to prove a point from the start of the match. Replacing Gazdag is no easy task and he will be key to linking the Union midfield and attack.

Prediction: Philadelphia 1 – 0 Orlando

Philadelphia get a goal from Mikael Uhre to keep their home winning streak alive and move up the league table.


  1. Andy Muenz says:

    MLS is a piece of shit league for scheduling a full slate of games knowing that many of the top players won’t be available. It’s one thing to reschedule games to this weekend due to things like Champions League (like happened with the Union in 2021). Worse than that, LAFC-Dallas is a matchup of 2 of the top 3 teams from the west last season and I’m guessing top players from both teams will be unavaible due to international duty.

  2. I’m interested to see how Jim Curtin handles the roster he has on hand. To me, there are two big questions.
    First, do you stick with the 4-4-2 diamond (likely starting Donovan as a second striker), or do you go with a five-man midfield (Uhre as a lone striker, gets both Perea and Bueno on the field)?
    Second, assuming you roll out the 4-4-2, do you give Perea the start (presumably at the 8 with Flach at CDM), or do you use Bueno at CDM (keeping Flach at the 8)?

    • My money is on the former. He sticks with the 4-4-2 and trusts his depth. Weakest link has to be Donovan. Not to pick on the kid, but he’s probably the guy with the biggest drop off from who he replaces. Caranza picked a real lousy time to get himself suspended.

      • Deez Nuggs says:

        What I see from Donovan is a ton of work. He’s less precise aiming at goal but kid does the work pressuring. That should be enough to turn some chances for others.

  3. Gruncle Bob says:

    It will be nice to watch a game on apple with a broadcast team that doesn’t massively suck.

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