ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – Orlando City wasted no time upon their return home against Philadelphia Union at Exploria Stadium Wednesday despite the storm overhead, getting the ball to the box within the first 15 seconds–and that was the warning shot.
Orlando made good on the warning and got the board first in the 8th minute with Chris Mueller’s unassisted breakaway goal, 1-0.
Philadelphia nearly answered back in the 12th minute with Kacper Przybylko’s shot attempt, but Orlando goalie Brian Rowe blocked it.
Philadelphia’s Brenden Aaronson made a sharp drive to the goal in the 19th minute, but Rowe came right out to meet him, sliding the ball away.
In the 24th, Orlando made barraged the goal attempting to sink one in the back, culminating in Luis Nani’s high-flyer over the cross bar into the crowd.
Philadelphia Union’s Haris Medunjanin was issued a yellow card in his effort to wrest the ball from Chris Mueller in the 27th minute.
Philadelphia finally equalized the score in the 32nd minute. Orlando’s Tesho Akindele turned over the ball, which eventually made its way to Przybylko. Mueller tried to slide the ball away, but missed, giving Przybylko the chance for a decisive left cross shot. Rowe came out of the box to block it, but also missed him.
In the 42nd, Nani made a corner kick headed for the goal, but Philly goalie Matt Freese gripped it for the save.
In the 42nd minute, Orlando’s Robin Jansson garnered a yellow card after crossing Philly’s Fabrice-Jean Picault in an attempt to steal the ball, despite Jansson’s left foot touching the ball before the fall. By the 46th minute, the yellow was rescinded and made straight red.
The score remained tied 1-1 at halftime despite two minutes of added play.
At the beginning of the second half, Orlando subbed in Kamal Miller for Nani.
Philly moved to score quickly with some crisscross action, starting with a right cross from Medunjanin to Alejandro Bedoya, who knocked it toward Przybylko, made a sharp left kick into the net, making the score 2-1.
Fabrice-Jean Picault scored in the 52nd minute with Jamiro Monteiro’s assist, widening Philly’s lead to 3-1.
In the 55th minute, Aaronson routed the between two Orlando defenders’ legs and nearly made goal, but Rowe was able to get his hands on it.
Across the field, Orlando’s Will Johnson got the left cross from Sacha Kljestan and attempted a shot on goal in the 57th minute, but Philly’s Jack Elliot tripped him up in an effort to block.
Orlando used its second and third substitutions in the 60th minute, bringing in Shane O’Neill and Dom Dwyer for Daniel Acosta and Chris Mueller respectively.
In the 66th minute, Philly subbed in Marco Fabian in for Aaronson.
In the 67th minute, Orlando lost another man with to a red card: Sacha Kljestan, in his effort to battle Monteiro for the ball, nailed his cleats straight into Monteiro’s left shin. Despite his injury, Monteiro chose to stay on the field, despite his hampered mobility. The Orlando crowd booed every single time he got a touch.
Philly finally subbed in Sergio Santos for Monteiro in the 73rd minute.
In the 81st minute, Picault went down with a muscle cramp, prompting a sub in the 82nd with Anthony Fontana.
After five minutes of stoppage time at the end of the match, while Orlando never scored again, they saw to it that Philly didn’t either, making the final score 3-1, Philadelphia. Tonight’s match was Philly’s first-ever win in Orlando.
If it was any consolation, Orlando fans were able to enjoy Independence Day early with an exciting fireworks show after the match.
Orlando faces Philly again on their turf July 6th before returning home July 10th to host NYCFC.
Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. | email@example.com