Alejandro Bedoya put the hosts in front on 17 minutes only to see Brandon Vazquez equalize for Cincinnati in the 40th minute.
Story of the match
In the third minute, Bedoya chased the ball down, cut back and found Julian Carranza, whose shot was straight at Cincinnati rookie goalkeeper Roman Celentano.
Two minutes later, the Philadelphia captain sent in a cross for Kai Wagner, who let fly, but saw an Orange and Blue defender get in the way.
The Union opened the scoring as Bedoya went from provider to scorer, Daniel Gazdag sending a volley over to Carranza, who got to the end line, kept the ball in play and found Bedoya, whose left'footed curler snuck inside the post.
Moments later, the visitors nearly equalized, Alvaro Barreal's shot saved well at the left post by Andre Blake with Jack Elliott clearing as the ball floated along the goal line.
Seconds later, Blake was forced off of his line to react quickest to a low cross that he swept away before former Philadelphia right back Ray Gaddis could get to it.
Five minutes before halftime, Cincinnati were level. Barreal sent a cross into the box that was headed down by Tyler Blackett, who found Vazquez and he threw his body at the ball, sending it past Blake.
In the 54th minute, the Orange and Blue had a great chance to go in front as a free-kick was played short to Barreal and he saw his long-range effort denied by a diving save from Blake.
With just over a quarter of an hour to play, Philadelphia threatened with a neat passage of play, Jose Martinez laying off to Bedoya, who passed out wide to Cory Burke, the chance falling to Gazdag, who was stopped by Celentano.
On 77 minutes, Gazdag finding Burke from the center circle and the midfeilder cut inside with his left foot before passing to Carranza, who bounced a shot to Celentano.
Burke set up Gazdag with a header for the final opportunity of the contest, but the Hungarian's right-footed shot was saved by Celentano.
Man of the match: Andre Blake
This could have easily gone to Bedoya, who looked dangerous throughout, but Cincinnati were on the front foot after leveling and thanks to the play of their all-world goalkeeper, Philadelphia was able to salvage a point.