Match previews / Union

Match preview: Orlando City SC vs. Philadelphia Union

Photo: Marjorie Elzey 

Who: Philadelphia Union vs. Orlando City SC

What: MLS Regular Season

Where: Exploria Stadium, Orlando, Florida

When: Wednesday, June 21, 7:30 p.m.

Watch: Apple TV+

Whistle: REF: Alex Chilowicz; AR1: Andrew Bigelow; AR2: Kevin Klinger; 4TH: Marcos DeOliveira; VAR: Jair Marrufo; AVAR: Fabio Tovar

It’s another midweek matchday in the MLS season as the Philadelphia Union will head down to humid Florida to face Orlando City on Wednesday night. With such a busy schedule for MLS teams this season, both sides will be playing through an international window, causing key players to miss the match as they are with their national teams.

Philadelphia had been riding an impressive unbeaten streak as of late, which came to a disapointing end 11 days ago in San Jose. Now the Union will be looking to regain their road form, all without key players Andre Blake, Damion Lowe, and Daniel Gazdag. It will be a tough task for the Boys in Blue, as the Lions of Orlando look to close the gap in the standings and move firmly into playoff position.

Scouting report: Orlando City

After getting the best of Philadelphia at Subaru Park in March, Orlando City has had a very inconsistent start to the season. The Lions put a good showing in Champions League, falling to Tigres on away goals after tying 1-1 after both legs. Following their elimination, Orlando picked up wins against Minnesota and LA Galaxy while also notching losses against D.C., Nashville and Charlotte. The month of May followed with more inconsistent results, as the Lions beat Miami, drew three times, and lost to Montreal in their 5 matches. June seemed like a corner had been turned with wins over New York Red Bull and Colorado, but then a defeat to New England followed.

Orlando too will be out several key players as goalkeeper Pedro Gallese, forward Facundo Torres and midfielder Wilder Cartagena will miss out due to international duty.

With Torres out, Duncan McGuire is a threat up top as he has five goals to his name so far this season. Ercan Kara will likely start up top as well, with the Austrian contributing four goals and two assists so far on the year. In midfield, Mauricio Pereyra will look to run the attack, with the central midfielder responsible for four assists so far this year. On the right is Martin Ojeda and Ivan Angulo will be on the left. Shielding the backline is MLS veteran Felipe, and Cesar Araujo will line up to his left.

In defense, Robin Jansson and Rodrigo Schlegel form a physical pairing that has been stout defensively. On the right side is youngster Michael Halliday, and Rafael Santos will be on the left. Both players will look to get in behind and send in crosses. In goal replacing Gallese will be Mason Stajduhar.

Injury report: Out: Adam Grinwis, Abdi Salim; Questionable: Gaston Gonzalez

International Duty:  Wilder Cartagena, Pedro Gallese, Wilfredo Rivera, Facundo Torres.

Scouting report: Philadelphia Union

The Philadelphia Union are coming off their longest break in action in almost three months, an 11-day rest following a defeat against San Jose is a much needed break for a side that has already played many games since late February.

Philadelphia will be looking for a strong performance from some reserve players though, as three starters will need to be replaced. Joe Bendik will replace Andre Blake in net, while Brandan Craig may be in line for his first MLS start if Jim Curtin chooses to replace Damion Lowe with a center back in the back line. It will be interesting to see how the Union will replace Daniel Gazdag with many midfield options. A switch in formation may happen, or Joaquin Torres can fill in as the attacking midfielder.

There should be no change to Philadelphia’s strike partnership as Julian Carranza and Mikael Uhre will both be available and both enjoyed a good run of form during the Union’s unbeaten streak. Alejandro Bedoya may be an option in midfield as well as he recovers from injury, but Jesus Bueno and Andres Perea will be looking for minutes after some recent outings. Perea may be extra motivated after being traded by Orlando this offseason. Jack McGlynn and Quinn Sullivan have also returned from the U-20 World Cup and will be looking for league minutes again, both are an option to start or come off the bench. Leon Flach and Jose Martinez will likely feature in defensive roles, as the two have been a formidable pairing in the center of the pitch.

In defense, Kai Wagner will take up his place on the left and either Olivier Mbaizo or Nathan Harriel will take up the right side. Each player is able to provide speed to the Union attack and spread the Orlando back line. In the back line pairing, Jack Elliott and Jakob Glesnes will be in the center. It remains to be seen if Brandan Craig will slot in as a third center back or if Philadelphia will have a change in formation.

Injury report: Questionable: Alejandro Bedoya.

International Duty:  Daniel Gazdag, Damion Lowe, Andre Blake.

Key matchup: Depth

Both sides are missing key starters and in the heat and humidity, depth will be tested. Both sides have seen how deep their rosters are in Champions League play, but will the loss of star players prove too much for one side?

Player to watch: Julian Carranza

Carranza is starting to draw some international attention after his strong start to the season after an eye-opening 2022 season. He struggled to find his finishing boots last time out against San Jose and will be without set-up man Daniel Gazdag. Carranza will be looking to elevate his stardom and prove he isn’t a product of a system.

Prediction:  Philadelphia Union 1-1 Orlando City

Two short-handed sides play to a 1-1 draw in a game that gets a late equalizer in a lethargic looking game.

Philadelphia = +170
Orlando = +150
Draw = +230


  1. Andy Muenz says:

    It is an absolute joke that both games against Orlando are directly affected by FIFA international breaks. I guess we can’t expect much from a league that for over 2 weeks has had its website highlight a player who has never played a minute in the league.
    F**k MLS.

    • santo bevacqua says:

      of course ……… he doen’t play soccer, the league will gradually allay and become the MLF. Go union

  2. After watching Halliday against the Revs on Saturday, I think we can play through him on the right, especially with Kai at wingback if we go 3 at the back. Kinda worried about Bendik though.

  3. pragmatist says:

    This should be a good opportunity to get the kids some more minutes. I think we’ll score at least 2 through the combination of McGlynn and Carranza. Flach has been stout recently, so hopefully he’ll provide McGlynn cover going forward.
    Yup…I’m trying to be the positive guy out here! 😉

  4. The Union Jack says:

    From February 25th to June 10th the Union played 24 games across all competition in 105 days. An average of 1 game every 4 days 9 hours. 12 games were away. This included 2 international trips and 3 trips across further than the Central time zone.

    Starting tonight until October 21st they can play up to 23 games, if they make the final of the Leagues Cup, in 122 days. An average of 1 game every 5 days 7 hours. If they do not face LAFC in the Leagues Cup final they will play 9 away games (all regular season games) and have only 1 trip further than the Central time zone (LAG on July 8th).

    The 2nd half of the season looks favorable.

    • Deez Nuggs says:


    • HopkinsMD says:

      This is encouraging! Thanks for the breakdown.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      Unfortunately they will be without Blake and Lowe for the next 3-6 games due to Gold Cup. Hopefully Trinidad and/or Saint Kitts will find a way to beat Jamaica so it’s only 3 games.
      And for those of you thinking of watching the Gold Cup, the Union have games on 5 of the 6 days that the US and/or Jamaica play.

  5. Andy Muenz says:

    Looks like it’s a 4-4-2 with Torres in Gazdag’s spot. Good news is that Bedoya is healthy enough to be on the bench.

  6. Nice call with the prediction of the lategame equalizer! Do you also make stock predictions? Season tix wont pay for themselves…

    • Andy Muenz says:

      Just sell your tickets for next year’s game against Miami at a price that will cover the whole season.

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