Carlos Rivas and Julio Baptista were on target as Orlando defeated Philadelphia Union 2-0 on Sunday afternoon in Chester. Hosting their biggest regular season game in five seasons, the Union turned in a completely flat performance that left those remaining at full time booing the team off the pitch.
A David Accam goal for Chicago Fire all but eliminated the New England Revolution from playoff contention with the Fire winning 2-1. The Revs now have to overturn a 12 goal differential to edge Philadelphia for the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference next week.
Jim Curtin made two changes to the team that lost to New York Red Bulls two weeks ago, with Brian Carroll replacing Warren Creavalle and Ken Tribbett coming in for the injured Josh Yaro. Maurice Edu was named to the bench.
An uneven first half saw few chances for either side. Carlos Rivas fired wide of Andre Blake’s goal from 12 yards in the 11th minute after Ken Tribbett slipped with Orlando in attack.
Fabian Herbers had Philadelphia’s best chance to score in the 30th minute. Fabinho found Tranquillo Barnetta in the center of the park, who moved the ball to Herbers out on the right with a chance to shoot first time from 17 yards. But the rookie got under the bouncing ball and fired high over the crossbar.
Orlando almost took the lead in the 42nd minute when a cross ricocheted off of Ken Tribbett six yards from the Union goal, only to hit the left post and fall safely into the hands of Blake.
Orlando would take the lead in the 59th minute through Carlos Rivas. Fabinho was tentative moving to the ball after Orlando cleared a Union corner kick and Rivas broke in alone against Blake from close to 80 yards. The Union goalkeeper almost came up with a huge save on the striker but the ball rebounded off of Rivas after the initial save and a retreating Keegan Rosenberry could only push the ball into his own net as he tried to clear.
C.J. Sapong had a chance to equalize in the 66th minute after Fabinho found him in the box with a well placed cross, but the big striker could only head straight at Joe Bendik from 10 yards out.
Chris Pontius would have a good chance to get the Union back on level terms just a minute later after Herbers advanced up the right and floated a cross to the back post, but the veteran’s header was cleared off the line by Bendik.
Ilsinho and Roland Alberg were introduced for Pontius and Carroll as the Union pushed for an equalizer. Ilsinho almost made an immediate impact, crossing for Sapong in the 69th minute, but again the striker could not turn his effort on goal from close range.
Andre Blake made a tremendous diving save to his right to deny Matias Perez Garcia in the 79th minute after the Orlando midfielder found time and space to shoot inside the Union box.
Barnetta would have a great chance to equalize in stoppage time, flicking a header just wide after Alejandro Bedoya picked him out with a good cross near the penalty spot.
Julio Baptista would assure Orlando the points deep into stoppage time, powering a half volley past Blake from near the top of the box with the Union pushing high looking for the tying goal.
Philadelphia will end the regular season next Sunday when they host New York Red Bulls at Talen Energy Stadium (3 p.m.).
Andre Blake, Fabinho, Richie Marquez, Ken Tribbett, Keegan Rosenberry, Brian Carroll (Roland Alberg 71′), Alejandro Bedoya, Tranquillo Barnetta, Fabian Herbers (Charlie Davies 81′), Chris Pontius (Ilsinho 68′), C.J. Sapong
Unused Subs: John McCarthy, Ray Gaddis, Maurice Edu, Warren Creavalle,
Orlando City FC
Joe Bendik, Rafael Ramos, Seb Hines, Mikey Ambrose, Jose Aja, Matias Perez Garcia (Servando Carrasco 87′), Antonio Nocerino, Cristian Higuita, Kaka, Cyle Larin (Julio Baptista 71′), Carlos Rivas (Kevin Molino 81′)
Unused subs: Earl Edwards, Tommy Redding, Kevin Alston, Hadji Barry
ORL: Carlos Rivas — 59′
ORL: Julio Baptista — 90+5′
PHI: Richie Marquez (unsporting behavior) — 38′
PHI: Fabian Herbers (unsporting behavior) — 44′
ORL: Jose Aja (unsporting behavior) –57′
PHI: Tranquillo Barnetta (unsporting behavior) –67′
|Philadelphia Union||Orlando City SC|
|4||Shots on Target||4|
|6||Shots off Target||6|
|51%||Duels Won %||49%|