The Philadelphia Union started their first of two tough road games this week with a 2-2 draw against Orlando City SC that the Union players and fans will definitely feel hard done by.
The match started off relatively slowly as Orlando City controlled much of the possession. The possession did not really challenge the Union though as they dealt with the early pressure well before slowly finding the game. Philadelphia found it challenging to keep the ball as they turned the ball over multiple times in the middle of the field. Their defense stood firm and was able to keep Orlando out of any real significant chances.
Andre Blake comes up big
The first half was not without any action, though. In the 36th minute Union goalkeeper, Andre Blake, brushed Orlando City captain, Kaka, and he went down for a penalty. However, Blake dove to his right and got a hand down to save the spot kick. Just before halftime Philadelphia center back Joshua Yaro appeared to injure his shoulder and could not continue. Ken Tribbett came on to replace him as the two MLS Eastern Conference teams went into the break tied 0-0.
The second half got going much quicker than the first half did. It took the Union just seven minutes after the restart before they got on the scoreboard. Tribbett hit a long diagonal off of a restart that Chris Pontius was able to rise up and head into the path of a wide open Tranquillo Barnetta who pounded it home. A short while after the opening goal, David Mateos went in hard on Warren Creavalle and took him out late in the box, but referee Sorin Stoica neglected to make the call.
Controversy takes center stage
Orlando would find the back of the net in the 68th minute on a controversial goal from Kevin Molino. Andre Blake attempted to clear a long ball which was sent into the box, but he was collided into by Cyle Larin and Richie Marquez. No foul was given and Molino slotted the ball into an empty net. It only took three minutes for Orlando to take the lead. Kaka found his way to the end line and sent a cross in which Cyle Larin redirected towards goal off his chest. Andre Blake made a great reaction save, but the referee ruled the ball had crossed the line, giving Orlando their second goal.
After giving up two controversial goals, Philadelphia did well to keep pressing and they were rewarded with a goal in the 75th minute from the feet of Ken Tribbett. Barnetta sent in a low cross that Orlando goalkeeper, Joe Bendik, could only get a hand to, and Tribbett knocked in the rebound.
Both teams had their chances to win it late, but the game would eventually finish 2-2 as the two teams share the points. There were six yellow cards handed out as well as a red card handed out to Mateos in second half stoppage time. He went in high with his studs into Fabian Herbers while missing the ball.
Philadelphia will travel to Colorado this Saturday in a battle of first place teams. Orlando will travel to Yankee Stadium on Sunday looking to beat New York City FC in New York for the second time this season.