In their inaugural meeting, the Philadelphia Union (6-13-5) faced Orlando City SC (7-10-7) to a scoreless draw Saturday evening. Despite a few good chances in the second half, Philadelphia failed to find the back of the net and were handed their first shutout since May 9th of this year.
The first half of the game saw a back and forth play with no real chances except a 21st minute shot by Sebastian Le Toux. Newly signed midfielder Tranquillo Barnetta split two defenders for a pass to Le Toux that beat Orlando goalkeeper Tally Hall, but was denied by the post.
Eight minutes later, Orlando got their biggest look of the half, with forward Cyle Larin blasting a shot that went straight into the hands of the Union’s John McCarthy following an outside pass from Kaká.
The second half saw more energy with the Union making key substitutions and switching to a more attacking formation. Le Toux’s presence was seen continually through the second half with the first chance being a great pass to CJ Sapong who failed to get the ball past Tally Hall. In the 69th minute, Le Toux was active again, finding Cristian Maidana in the box but once again, Hall was there to sweep up the mess and leave the match scoreless.
Orlando responded with a ball by Carlos Rivas that bounced around in the Union’s box but Rivas’ effort was in vain as the ball went out for a Union goal kick.
The remainder of the match was controlled by the Union with a few peak chances but the greatest travesty of all occurred in the 90th minute. Fernando Aristeguieta had the ball at his feet in the middle of the box and pulled off a shot that was blocked, not by Tally Hall, but by his own player! Aristeguieta’s ball bounced off of Steven Vitoria‘s knee and out of harms way for Orlando, leaving both teams to split a point. The draw leaves the Union five points out of a playoff spot having played more games than many of the eastern conference sides.
Philadelphia returns home for two games against the Chicago Fire in one week. The Fire and Union will clash on Wednesday in the semifinal of the US Open Cup then resume regular MLS play against them next Saturday. Orlando City SC will prepare to travel to the Pacific Northwest to take on Seattle Sounders FC next Sunday.