Photo: Earl Gardner
Substitute Tranquillo Barnetta curled home a sensational free kick in the 90th minute to give Philadelphia Union a 2-1 win over Orlando City and their first visit to the top of the standings since the Peter Nowak era.
C.J. Sapong got the scoring started early with a close range finish in just the 2nd minute before Adrian Winter was able to equalize for Orlando with a clever run and finish just before halftime.
Jim Curtin made two changes to the team that lost in Chicago last Saturday. Vincent Nogueira returned to the starting lineup in place of the suspended Warren Creavalle. Ilsinho also missed out after picking up a late injury, and Sebastien Le Toux replaced him. Walter Restrepo was named in the 18 for the first time.
The Union started brightly and were on top in just the 2nd minute. Keegan Rosenberry found time and space to cross from the right and put in a fantastic teasing ball. Rafael Ramos misplayed the ball, and it squirted across the goalmouth to Sapong, who bundled it home.
Orlando City grew into the match after Philadelphia’s early pressure. A series of set pieces were Orlando’s best opportunities, with Seb Hines heading just wide and Andre Blake forced to claim two very dangerous crosses from Kaka.
The Union would generate another good chance through the heavily involved Chris Pontius in the 30th minute. Roland Alberg found the winger with a good ball into the box. Pontius cut back onto his left foot and fired a shot from eight yards, but Joe Bendik made himself big to repel the effort.
Adrian Winter equalized for the visitors in the 43rd minute. Kevin Molino fed a bouncing ball to Winter, who took a great touch around Rosenberry before finishing coolly with his left foot into the right corner of Blake’s goal.
Winter would have a glorious chance to give Orlando City the lead just four minutes into the second half. Kaka latched onto a looped ball into the box and cut back for Winter. With nearly the entire goal to shoot at, the winger blasted his shot right at Blake, who reacted brilliantly to tip the ball over the bar.
Philadelphia would have a good chance to take back the lead in the 51st minute. Le Toux’s long touch became a through ball into the Orlando City box that Sapong gathered, but Bendik was quick off his line to smother the striker’s effort.
Fabian Herbers and Tranquillo Barnetta were brought on in the 63rd minute, replacing Le Toux and Alberg respectively. It would be the first time Sapong and Herbers would be on the field together all season, with Sapong moving out right and Herbers playing center forward.
Philadelphia generated a series of good opportunities from set pieces as the half wore on. Ken Tribbett and Herbers both had chances after Aurelien Collin fanned on a clearance in the 66th minute, but neither could find a clean strike on goal. It was Tribbett again with an opportunity in the 70th minute, this time forcing a point blank save from Bendik.
Leo Fernandes replaced Chris Pontius in the 85th minute as the Union searched for a winner.
Philadelphia found that winner in the 90th minute. Sapong won a free kick 22 yards from the Orlando City goal, slightly toward the right side. After skying a previous effort, Barnetta stepped up and spun a perfect free kick that clattered the underside of the crossbar, fell to the turf, and settled in the back of the net as Joe Bendik stared on motionlessly.
Philadelphia travels to CenturyLink Field next Saturday to face the Seattle Sounders in a 10 p.m. match.
Andre Blake, Keegan Rosenberry, Ken Tribbett, Richie Marquez, Fabinho, Brian Carroll, Vincent Nogueira, Roland Alberg (Tranquillo Barnetta 63′), Chris Pontius (Leo Fernandes 85′), Sebastien Le Toux (Fabian Herbers 63′), C.J. Sapong
Unused Subs: Matt Jones, Ray Gaddis, Anderson Conceicao, Walter Restrepo
Orlando City SC
Joe Bendik, Rafael Ramos, Aurelien Collin, Seb Hines, Luke Boden, Darwin Ceren, Servando Carrasco, Antonio Nocerino (Julio Baptista 90+1), Kevin Molino (Carlos Rivas 90+1), Adrian Winter, Kaka
Unused Subs: Earl Edwards, David Mateos, Kevin Alston, Hadji Barry
PHI: C.J. Sapong – 2′
ORL: Adrian Winters – 43′ (Kevin Molino)
PHL: Tranquillo Barnetta – 90′
PHI: Fabinho (foul) – 30′
|Philadelphia Union||Orlando City|
|6||Shots on Target||3|
|3||Shots off Target||7|
|63%||Duels Won %||57%|