Union match reports

Match Report: Orlando City 0–0 Union

On a hot and sweaty night in the Citrus Bowl, Philadelphia Union earned a 0-0 draw with Orlando City SC.

In a vacuum, this would normally be a good result, but with Philly’s current place in the table it can only be considered a disappointment. That’s especially true in light of the second half, where Philadelphia generated a string of gilt-edged chances to take the lead, only for Orlando goalkeeper Tally Hall, or the Union’s own miscues, to keep them off the board.

First half

Concerned with containing Kaka, the Union opened the game with Brian Carroll and Michael Lahoud paired in the defensive midfield. While this formation has failed to yield dividends in the past, in this game it proved very effective. By clogging the area where Kaka likes to receive passes, then pressing him as soon as the ball found his feet, the Union made it difficult for the Brazilian to find his one real offensive weapon, Cyle Larin. The result was a quiet first half, with Orlando held at bay, but giving up few opportunities for counterattacks.

The other feature of the early going was Allan Chapman’s forgiving style of refereeing, which is to say he was letting both teams play with real physicality. The Union intuited this quickly, and won the physical battle for the most part. In particular, the Orlando City defenders could not contain CJ Sapong. Conor Donovan was injured in a challenge with Sapong, who put several other Orlando players on the floor throughout the half, almost all in legal duels.

The Union did have some chances. In the 6th minute, after the collision that injured Donovan, Cristian Maidana put in a decent free kick from deep, but it was taken out of the air by Hall. The best chance came in the 21st minute when a good entry pass from Tranquillo Barnetta, making his first MLS start, played Sebastien Le Toux into the Orlando box on the left side. Le Toux squared his hips to shoot. He might have crossed instead, but his shot did not miss by much, beating Hall but rebounding off the back post.

Kaka and Larin connected for the first and only time in the half on 30 minutes, resulting in Orlando’s only shot on goal in the game, but John McCarthy did well and held the ball. Orlando had a bit more of the ball around the Union box as the half went into five minutes of injury time, but had only a wayward Darwin Ceren shot to show for it, and the teams went into the half goalless.

Second half

Orlando opened the half with more aggression, and using its wide players better, but the game soon settled into the same quiet pattern as the first half. In the 51st, however, a good free kick from the Orlando right found Larin at the back post. He should have scored but put his header over the bar. Then, starting on the hour, the game came to life with a string of chances for the Union, and one for Orlando.

For the first, Le Toux found Sapong in the box. His left-footed shot was from a somewhat tight angle, and saved by Hall. Next, a great break saw Le Toux with another good entry pass for Maidana on his left foot. But instead of shooting first time, he dithered and cut back, and Hall was there to block. That led to Orlando’s best chance of the game, as they raced up the other end and sent a cross through the six  yard box just ahead of a stretching Larin. Had he made contact, it was a certain goal.

Orlando seemed sparked to life, but the chances kept coming for the Union. A great cross from Carroll nearly found Sapong at the back post, but was just cut out for a corner. An honestly incredible throw out of his box by McCarthy lead Le Toux on a break; he galloped into the Orlando box and laid a ball on a platter for Maidana, who inexplicably did not stretch for the ball, allowing it to roll through untouched. It was easily the best chance of the night, and Maidana’s decision not to lunge for the ball was baffling.

But there were more: In the 81st, substitute Fernando Aristeguieta cut back to Maidana after another good break. This time, Chaco put his laces through it and forced an excellent reaction save from Hall, earning a corner. In the 87th, a Maidana free kick found Richie Marquez, who sent in a bullet header, but Hall was there again. A minute later, another Union free kick was poorly cleared and Marquez poked the ball to Sapong, but his shot on the turn went wide. And finally, as the clock ticked into injury time, a Union corner led to a shot from Aristeguieta but—this being the Philadelphia Union—the shot hit Steven Vitoria and deflected away.

That’s how it would end, with Orlando increasingly happy to get anything from the game. In another season, a game like this would be encouraging. The Union were dangerous on the break, and tight defensively. But considering the Union’s position in the table, it can only be considered more dropped points.

Philadelphia Union
John McCarthy, Fabinho, Richie Marquez, Steven Vitoria, Ray Gaddis, Brian Carroll, Michael Lahoud (Warren Creavalle, 79), Sebastien Le Toux (Fernando Aristeguieta, 79), Tranquillo Barnetta (Eric Ayuk, 60), Cristian Maidana, CJ Sapong

Orlando City
Tally Hall, Luke Boden, Conor Donovan (Tommy Redding, 14), Aurélien Collin, Corey Ashe, Cristian Higuita, Servando Carrasco (Adrian Winter, 72), Lewis Neal (Carlos Rivas, 65), Kaká, Darwin Cerén, Cyle Larin

Scoring Summary
None

Disciplinary Summary
ORL — Luke Boden (Unsporting Behavior) — 66

Philadelphia Union Orlando City
11 Shots 8
4 Shots on Target 1
5 Shots off Target 4
2 Blocked Shots 3
 7 Corner Kicks 3
 26 Crosses  22
 2 Offsides 0
 11 Fouls 13
0 Yellow Cards 1
0 Red Cards  0
 366 Total Passes 471
 78% Passing Accuracy 86%
 44.1% Possession  55.9%
 52 Duels Won 32
 61.9% Duels Won %  38.1%
20 Tackles Won  7
1 Saves 4
15 Clearances 25

37 Comments

  1. Andy Muenz says:

    It wasn’t until around the midpoint of the second half that the Union was able to put their first shot on goal. And unlike Manchester United (who did the same thing earlier in the day), the Union weren’t given an own goal. They NEED to shoot more!

  2. Union played a lot better when Barnetta came off and Maidana went back into the middle. What will it take for that guy to get credit.
    .
    I miss Nogs.

    • pragmatist says:

      I think when everyone’s healthy, we’ll see Chaco back in the middle, and Barnetta out left. I think we’ll all be ok with that.

      • I disagree, everyone knows Maidana doesn’t belong on the wing, but Curtin immediately stated Barnetta plays centrally and his first time to decide he moved Maidana out wide. It has me thinking maybe Barnetta was promised the middle. I don’t agree with it but it seems that way.

    • That was the first point they’ve taken in a game where Noguiera didn’t play.

  3. pragmatist says:

    Kudos to Lahoud. Given his absence, his presence was felt in a very positive way tonight. He could be an X-Factor in the USOC.
    Also, the Marquez/Vittoria pairing was better than I was expecting.

    I’m not looking for the playoffs. We’re in an evaluation period now. There were some very positive points to take from tonight. Add Mo and Nogs to that lineup (in place of Carroll and Letoux), and we can be dangerous.
    .
    Yeah, I’ve hit the “try to be optimistic for next year” stage. Sue me.

    • I thought the same of Lahood. I was bummed when he got hurt as I thought he was playing pretty well. After a 3 month absence he stepped right in, looked pretty sharp considering the lay-off. Agreed on the CBs as well. It was nice to have some squad rotation and more than the same 2-3 competent bench players of the last few months.

    • Yep, agree as well. I thought Vitoria played perhaps his best game of the year, actually. And I’m really glad to see Marquez back out there. The two of them paired very well, I thought.
      .
      Lahoud also looked really good, which was encouraging. I thought he was playing really well prior to his injury, so to see him get back out there and make that sort of contribution was a good thing.
      .
      Lastly, I thought Le Toux also had a real nice game. He looked dangerous, and seemed to have the passing touch that lead to all those assists last year. Hopefully next time, Maidana decides to lunge…
      .
      Also, I do in fact realize that it sucks that I’m left reaching for silver linings. I f’ing hate silver linings.

  4. Thank God that was only a cramp for Chaco…but I will get back to that in a minute.
    .
    The flat footed standing still ball watching with poor technique are unpardonable sins at this level and both lousy teams as evidenced by their places in the table were guilty of this over and over and over…so much so that one only needed the first week of BPL to be reminded that…
    .
    …no matter what Giovani Dos Santos says there are ‘massively’ low IQ – low functioning teams giving still-birth to even lower functioning play as evidenced by Orlando and Philadelphia by relative comparison to say a Bournemouth who were routed today but looked competent in doing so. Tragically we know nothing of the Beautiful Game in Philadelphia – and yes I recognize two of our best players were missing. Unpardonable ball watching- Standing still rocked by a Gorgon shit.
    .
    The Creavalle and Fernando subs were 15 minutes too late.
    .
    I guess the Union manager and all involved with cherry Koop aid in their dippy cups will testify that tonight was more bad luck, you know snake bitten when truthfully Tally Hall was brilliant and our finishing, if that’s what you want to call it, was typically putrid.
    .
    Lastly….I’m curious about Orlando. I watched every game I could when my dearly departed was playing for them and they got off to a solid start, struggled with scoring but cycled play nicely and were enjoyable and since his benching then subsequent dismissal … well… Orlando sucks, just look at their place in the east and the disjointed style of play I’ve seen thrice now … Hmm… Coincidence or Confirmational bias? I’m curious.

    • El P, regarding Orlando, and how poor they looked, I think injuries along the back line have caused some of it. Their LB tonight in the first half was awful going forward. A competent crosser would have had Orlando up 2-0. And they have one, it’s just that he was playing RB tonight due to injury there.

      The Union alum who now plays CDM in KC had an assist today. Move along, nothing to see here.

    • Wow. Just wow. The U had much the better of the run. But of course, it’s Curtin’s fault that they couldn’t score with basically 3 golden opportunities within the 6-yard box right? If you burn Jim at the stake, I’m sure everything will turn around, and we will score 10 goals per game.

      Oh, and I’d like to ask you…did you watch the Bournemouth game? Because they dominated until the goal. Very unlucky. But I’m sure you just looked at the stats…or didn’t.

      • You got me VDS…I did not watch the Bournemouth game…
        .
        My comment used them as a BPL example (in light of the article his week linking our team to them) It was arbitrary and tongue in cheek. I did watch quite a few other games and the movement of the players is superior by comparison which this week in particular made Philly and Orlando specifically look as though we were frozen into stone by Medusa…
        .
        … a quality you simply do not see with higher functioning clubs even within MLS… I’ve argued at length in the past about how one dimensional the movement is with certain MLS teams.
        .
        And yes I look forward to reading in the transcript how we were unlucky to score and continue to be snake bitten when the saves the keeper made were in fact lovely.
        .
        I think I’ve been fair in my criticism of the manager but not over the top and certainly have not ‘burnt him at the stake.’ His resources are limited. His decision making suspect. One within his control one without.
        .
        There was a lot of standing around last night VDS by both teams and that is generally the point of my comment: kaka, Sapong and Chaco constantly search for usable space many of the other players do not and it is maddening to me because it is simply inexcusable….argue with me all you want- no problem, I read your comments and you are generally astute.

      • I don’t understand the polar opposites take on Curtin. Clearly it wasn’t his fault at all that we couldn’t finish to save our ass. And he gets credit for not putting White back at CB. However effective, Carroll/Lahoud will not produce offense, Maidana shouldn’t be wide, and NO ONE can argue he still is subbing way too late. It doesn’t have to be one way or the other with Curtin, there are positives and negatives. My biggest issue is the continued late subs, I just don’t get it.

  5. Chaco should have been subbed out; he was beyond gassed. Crevalle looked good.

  6. Union are at 23 points after 24 games – 0.96 ppg. 6th place last year was 42 points, so just to get there, 19 points over final 10 games, 1.90 ppg. No team in MLS in 2015 is currently above 1.76 ppg. Sorry, no playoffs this year, even in an awful Eastern Conference.

    So if the Cup run ends Wednesday, the evaluation for 2016 has to start next weekend. If healthy, all kids and loanees play every match. Edu, Sapong, Nogs and Chaco are known quantities. Barnetta starts, Edu moves back to CDM, and you get 10 games headstart on 2016 for developing chemistry with each other. Blake is the GK, even if Curtin doesn’t favor him, showcase for trade. Rotate Vitoria/White/Marquez at CB. Pair Nando and Sapong, see if that can work. Ayuk and Pfeffer get time on the wings. Casey and Fred should not see the field unless injuries to others require it.

    I have been critical of Carroll the past few years; he has been a rock for the club this year. But he cannot be in the club’s roster plans for 2016. His play so far this season has given him the appropriate platform on which to exit. Lahoud or Edu have to be DM the rest of the season. Thank you, BC.

    Curtin does not have the interim tag hanging over his head this year. Give your 5 core players time to gel, evaluate everyone else, and go into an offseason where you will have cap room and a high draft pick with a plan. Execute roster moves early so most new faces are there at the start of camp, not just joining the club at the end, so the first month of the regular season is used as preseason.

    Now if anyone is looking for me, I’ll be checking the cookie inventories and making sure there is enough kindling for TBH’s fire on The Cliff.

    • Atomic Spartan says:

      No Nando “pairing ” please, that is one holding forward too many.

    • This isn’t gonna happen, if Caroll/Lahoud playing together doesn’t tell you that, nothing will. Although you’re right that it should happen.

  7. That we have reached the point as supporters of this team that we can look at this awful dreck and come away with qualified positives is in and of itself a sad and pitiful commentary on the state of the Union. WSSM.

  8. Atomic Spartan says:

    When is the last time we scored off a corner kick? And when will we ever try anything other than lofting a hopeful ball into the pack? Jim, please, there are other ways to create danger off a CK.

    • April, and probably never with this coach, but, to be fair, the team does not score many goals from any other method so maybe we shouldn’t just be picking on the corner kicks, but overall I agree with your sentiment

    • I did have the same thought on the corner kick ineptitude. Just seems like forever, and they really aren’t even close either. A Union CK to me just means it’s time to get a snack or use the bathroom so I don’t possibly miss something exciting happen later.

  9. OneManWolfpack says:

    A lot of negativity here, but I didn’t think the U were that bad tonight. Certainly good enough to take all 3.. but in fairness they weren’t deserving of all 3. I guess a draw is fair… both teams are very average and it could’ve gone either way. Win Wednesday and I don’t care…
    .
    Thought Vitoria was decent. Lahoud too. Both very good signs. Carroll was very average… then again it’s Carroll, so whatever. Barnetta was average too.
    .
    Not sure (when? If?) they even deserved it, but just in general… can the Union get a PK?! Or is there an MLS rule against this…

    • There is no MLS rule against it, however, it is granted only for a foul within the penalty area, so they actually have to have a player in the penalty area to get a PK. This happens not very often for our team. Also, they dive a lot. I think they have a bit of a reputation.

    • The reason the Union can’t get a PK is because they’re ALWAYS crossing the ball in. Maybe if they played through balls (shocking their best chances Saturday came on through balls), they’d have a couple guys dragged down in the box. When all you do is pass around from one side to another and cross the ball you won’t be getting any PK’s.

  10. Westminster Union says:

    Been saying it for weeks , need to focus on next year and giving time to players will be around and be apart of the core of the team. Playing Barnetta Maidana Nog and Ayuk should be priority. Need to give them time to gel. If Edu’s future is at cdm, play him there. I personally think he brings the worst out of Nog because he’s too unpredictable with position and Nog is left scrambling to recover for Edu’s mistakes but if you’re comitted to Edu in mid play him there !!

  11. Didn’t get to watch the match…. Just saw the highlights. All I want to know is how you can fail to score with so many opportunities. Seems to be a theme for the union. They can’t generate goals when they need them, even when they succeed at generating chances. That’s the question I’m stuck with if I’m Curtin. Is it that my players can’t execute or is it my poor planning? I think it’s more of the former.

  12. For two teams desperate for three points the play was very uninspiring. have to give Nando an A for effort but it’s painful watching him try to put on a burst of speed. Again yet another poor, bad soccer game.

  13. If this was the middle of the season or earlier I’d feel some hope. But this is so typical of these perennial underachievers. It was nice to see the twin towers Vitoria and Marquez link up. I can see Edu at defensive mid with the understanding that Norguiera is the link moving forward. Maidana in the middle and Barnetta and Le Toux on the wings with Sapong up top. Curtin needs to be the damn coach a tell the prim-Madonnas to shut up and play. Creavalle looks like he can play on this team. I’d give him a shot at RB with Gaddis subbing. They still need a LB. But for now we are stuck with what we have. There is still no GM to organize Albright, Curtin, and coaching, trainers, medical staffs. The new GM needs put them all on notice this off season.

  14. Chess over Checkers says:

    Other than the U.S. Open Cup, this season is like pouring molasses on a cold day.

    .
    They are trying to play chess with checkers pieces, and we watch it, hoping one day off a sudden the team will have a full chess board to use. But that day never comes. So what if we castle a few checkers into Nogs, Chaco, perhaps the tranquil one but the rest of the regular checkers are still just regular checkers.

  15. Old Soccer Coach says:

    To hold a team that has played is some the higher scoring frenzies of the season is an accomplishment. I was worried about Vitoria’s foot speed against Orlando’s forwards. His passing accuracy helped make up for Edu’s absence. Marquez starts ahead of White. There were times when all eight defenders were in the central channel. To me that says well prepared, as that fits exactly what Adam Cann anticipated from the OC attack.
    .
    We continue to have trouble scoring. Perhaps we need to find the best offensive corner kicks coach in Europe and hire him.

  16. What an absolute gem of a game by NYRB. Boy…. I wish we could play that good.

    • Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

      That game was perfect. Great back and forth game, inner city derby match, and on primetime on national TV. Ther only thing that could have made that game better is if a comet had fallen on RB arena at the conclusion!

    • We’d need new ownership a GM, scouts, a RB, a LB and a coach. We’ve already got the fan base and the stadium. We’ve also got a Sugarman and a Sakiewicz to get out of the way!

      In the mean time I like this:

      Sapong
      Barnetta, Maidana, Le Toux
      Noguiera, Edu
      Fabinho, Marquez, Vitoria, Creavalle
      Sylvestre

  17. Disappointing game in my opinion. And is anyone else worried that Lahoud and Carroll started in the middle? I mean sure they both did a solid job but the amount that this team has to rely on Carroll guarding the back four is uncanny. I really hope this team and coaches understand we have no one to take Carroll’s place when he retires which is likely soon. You can not play this style and succeed if we have no replacement which we don’t. Also what the hell is the team doing playing two very defensive oriented CDM when this team needs wins and nothing else. I’m I said along time ago they weren’t ever going to make the playoffs and I stand by that and think there is no point in talking about it, but they still should be pushing only for 3 points. Also Maidana middle Barnetta left (everyone has seen this and it is obvious, Hey coach did you notice it yet probably not). I said this before they even got him, Barnetta is a wide left midfielder and has had his most success there throughout the years. Once again the Union is doing things all wrong and will ruin another solid player.

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