Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Midweek MLS Madness: Sloppy and wild second half leads to Philly-Orlando draw

Orlando City 2-2 Philadelphia Union
Philadelphia has been very successful in their own home, but when facing challenging teams outside of their friendly confines, things have been a little dicey. Tonight they travelled to central Florida for some midweek action against Orlando City, who are unbeaten Camping World Stadium.

It took 35 minute for the game to see any real action. That was when the Union got a taste of the highly skilled duo of Kaka and Cyle Larin. A counter attack resulted in a two on one break with the Canadian linking up with the Brazilian legend, who ultimately got tripped by Andre Blake in the penalty area. The ensuing penalty kick was stopped defiantly by the perpetrator himself. Blake dove to get his paws to the sub par effort from Kaka to keep the match scoreless. That would sum up the first half action as the rest of the time featured the two sides knocking the ball around and occasionally littering with harmless shots.

The second half had more of a fiery start. A free kick for Philly in the 52nd minute resulted in a wonderful goal for the Union. Ken Tribbett's initial take was from quite a distance away, but Chris Pontius got his head to it and played it perfectly to Tranquillo Barnetta for the volley and goal. It was Barnetta's second goal of the season, the other was also against Orlando.

The Union would spend the next several minutes owning the ball and setting themselves up with a couple more half decent chances. Within minute of the goal, a creative free kick move from them almost resulted in a quick second goal. A strong move from CJ Sapong a few minutes late almost paid off as well. They could have had a penalty just after the hour mark too after a late challenge brought plenty of shouts from the Union squad.

Orlando caught a break to find their 68th minute equalizer. Some poor defensive communication between the Philly back line and Blake on a long ball into the penalty area led to a collision and a loose ball that Kevinolino pounced on a knocked into the gaping net. That gave the home side a lot of life that led to a go ahead goal just three minutes later. Kaka got some momentum along the tough like and played a cross in to Larin's chest. The ball may or may not have actually made it across the line, but the referee called it a goal. Goal line technology could have come in handy here, as my MLS Live feed didn't show a conclusive angle showing the ball going over the line.

The Union would storm back and score in the 75th minute to tie it back up. A short corner led to a cross in towards Sebastian Le Toux. Le Toux played it back to Tribbett, who banged it home for his first career goal.

The match would slow down a bit after that equalizer. Both teams would have a few decent cracks at goal, but nothing stuck. The Union had a free kick from just outside the penalty area in the final minute of stoppage time after Matteos was sent off for a flying karate kick, but Barnetta couldn't repeat his game winner from the last match between these two sides and it ended all square.

What looked like the prototypical sloppy midweek MLS match turned into a prototypical sloppy MLS goal fest in the final half hour. The defending was rather suspect, but the match overall was pretty fun to watch.

The table doesn't carnage due to this result. The Union remain on top of the East by two points and Orlando City still sits in sixth.

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