On Wednesday, Philadelphia Union begin a rough three game in eight days' portion of their schedule with a visit to Camping World Stadium to take on Orlando City SC. Kickoff from Orlando is scheduled for 7:30 PM EST (TV: Comcast SportsNet, MLS LIVE).
Philadelphia Union undefeated against Orlando City SC in all three matchups
Philadelphia and Orlando last met on April 8th, where the Union took all three points on a beautiful late free kick by Tranquillo Barnetta. In all three matchups between the two sides, Philadelphia has an undefeated record against Orlando with two wins and one draw.
Philadelphia Union and Orlando City on diverging paths since last matchup
The two teams since April 8th have been in divergent directions. Ever since the loss, Orlando has struggled to win games. Since the Philadelphia game, Orlando has only taken four points in their last six games (1W-3D-2L). On the other hand, Philadelphia has taken nine points in its last six games (2W-3D-1L) and sits on top of MLS Eastern Conference.
Injuries concerns for both Philadelphia Union and Orlando City
To add to their struggles, according to the Orlando Sentinel’s Alicia Rose DelGallo, defenders Sebastian Hines and Rafael Ramos will both be out for Wednesday’s match. Both Hines and Ramos have played in ten of Orlando’s 11 games and made up the right side of Orlando’s defense in their last game against Montreal. DelGallo reported that Kevin Alston and Tommy Redding will start in their place.
Philadelphia is not without injury concerns either. Midfielders Vincent Nogueira and Ilsinho are both injured, but according to a tweet by CBS’ Kevin Kinkead, both did travel with the team for this road trip. It is still yet to be seen if either are available for Wednesday’s game. Despite winning Friday, Philadelphia’s ability to conjure offense from its midfield looked anemic without Nogueira in the number eight role. Warren Creavalle filled into for the Frenchman on Friday and, if Nogueira is out still, will likely get another start.
Creavalle and fellow double pivot partner Brian Carroll both play a more defensive role. This may work well to help bolster the defense, which has been near top of MLS this season in goals allowed, but the pairing gives little going forward on offense. Another Philadelphia injury to watch is the availability of Fabinho. Fabinho was subbed off from Friday’s win against D.C. United with apparent cramps. With only a minor injury such as cramps, Fabinho should be available for selection on Wednesday.
Watch for Orlando City Forward Cyle Larin to make impact against Philadelphia Union
One other caveat from the last time these two sides squared off in April is Orlando forward Cyle Larin. Orlando will still run through the maestro, Kaka, but Larin adds another weapon to Orlando head coach Adrian Heath's arsenal. In April, Larin missed the game against Philadelphia with an injury. The 21-year-old is coming into Wednesday’s game off a brace that lead his side over the Montreal Impact, 2-1. Larin is a strong and powerful forward who, at his peak, can surely take over a game.
What fans should expect results-wise for both Orlando City and Philadelphia Union
Fans should expect a rough and hard fought battle between the two clubs. Orlando needs to pick up all three points at home to keep pace in the Eastern Conference. For Philadelphia, any result before heading into Western Conference-leading Colorado Rapids would usually be seen as a good result. Curtin has his team playing as well as anyone in the Eastern Conference, if not, MLS, and one point should be the minimum expectation for his squad.