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U in Review — USOC: Philadelphia Union vs. Orlando City S.C.

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Philadelphia Union, on the backs of an early Alejandro Bedoya goal and solid defending from their young defenders, defeated Orlando City SC, 1-0, to advance to the Semi-Finals of the U.S. Open Cup.

Survive and advance is (somewhat) what the Philadelphia Union did on Wednesday night, when they defeated visiting Orlando City SC, 1-0. Only, the Union looked fairly comfortable, and thrived in their attack more so than survived.

By the final whistle, the Union had peppered more than 19 shots in total on Orlando’s goal, completing nearly 80 percent of their passes in the attacking third and managing almost 54 percent of the possession.

Orlando looked lifeless and stumped in its own attack, and were kept to just four shots on goal throughout the contest.

A win sees the Union advance to the Semi-Final Round of this year’s Open Cup. It will be the fourth time in club history that the Union have made it this far. Philadelphia will face the winner of Chicago Fire vs. United Soccer League outfit Louisville City F.C. on a date still to be determined.

Philadelphia captain Alejandro Bedoya put the home side ahead early in the fourth minute, firing home a poor deflection from Orlando keeper Earl Edwards Jr. that came off a Fabrice-Jean Picault header.

Bedoya, unmarked, positioned himself nicely at Orlando and Edwards’ back-post, smashing home the ensuing rebound. It was an emblematic goal for the Union captain, who roamed all parts of the field throughout the evening.

Philly nearly doubled their lead in the 15th minute. In retrospect, Borek Dockal was the player that probably should have finished for the home side.

David Accam’s dummy in the Lions’ penalty area fooled the opposing Orlando defenders, but did not fool his teammate, Dockal, who stormed into the penalty area and let off a low-bearing shot, which Edwards parried away for a Union corner.

Dockal fired off target more than once on the night while Accam was subbed off by coach Jim Curtin in the 59th minute for Marcus Epps.

Accam, who scored a dramatic match-winner in Chicago last Wednesday night, looked rather sluggish from the off, with the Ghanaian losing possession of the ball on several instances throughout the first and second half.

Picault, snubbed by Edwards earlier in the game, almost found redemption in the dying embers of the match. Picault sped past Orlando right-back Donny Toia in the 79th minute, before firing a shot just wide of the Lions’ post.

It was one of the few chances for either side for the remainder of the game. Bedoya, the lone scorer, had a blast from outside the box that was parried away by Edwards in the 90th minute.

Overall, the Union looked content bunkering in and taking chances as they materialized. Players like Epps and Picault continued to size up and dribble hard at Orlando’s full-backs, but were unable to connect with second-half sub C.J. Sapong in the box.

Orlando, on the other hand, appeared to show little desire to chase the game, subbing off their playmaker, Josué Colman, midway through the second-half while still trailing the Union 1-0.

That said, both of the Union’s young defenders, Mark McKenzie and Auston Trusty, were big reasons the Blue and Gold kept a clean sheet and punched their ticket into the Semi-Finals of the tournament.

Scoresheet

Philadelphia Union

Alejandro Bedoya (4′)

Orlando City S.C. 

None

Shots

Philadelphia Union

19 Total; 9 On

Orlando City S.C. 

10 Total; 4 On

Possession

Philadelphia Union

53.6%

Orlando City S.C. 

46.4%

Bookings

Philadelphia Union

None

Orlando City S.C. 

Donny Toia (85′) 

Starting XI

Philadelphia Union (4-2-3-1)

Andre Blake; Ray Gaddis, Auston Trusty, Mark McKenzie, Keegan Rosenberry; Alejandro Bedoya, Haris Medunjanin; Fabrice-Jean Picault, Borek Dockal (Warren Creavalle, 83′), David Accam (Marcus Epps, 59′); Cory Burke (C.J. Sapong, 63′)

Orlando City S.C. (4-2-3-1) 

Earl Edwards Jr; Mohamed El-Munir, Amro Tarek, Shane O’Neill, Donny Toia; Will Johnson, Oriol Rosell (Cameron Lindley, 70′); Josué Colman (Stéfano Pinho, 61′), Sacha Kljestan, Chris Mueller (Dillon Powers, 45′); Dominic Dwyer

PFD’s Player of the Game

Jason Hannigan

I was torn between Union captain and goalscorer Alejandro Bedoya and Mark McKenzie, but ultimately went with the young defender.

McKenzie was a rock in the back, shutting down and frustrating United States forward Dom Dwyer all night long. McKenzie took some hits, but stood tall, putting out fire after fire in front of Andre Blake.

Yes, No. 4 made his share of mistakes, taking silly fouls here and there, but it is to be expected from a young center back. Nevertheless, the game ended 1-0 in the Union’s favor, and McKenzie is a big reason it did and that Philly is moving on in the Open Cup.

Mark McKenzie. My pick for PFD’s Player of the Game.

Next Match

Philadelphia returns to MLS play on Saturday, July 21 when the Union host the visiting Los Angeles Galaxy at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, PA. Kick off for the match is slated for 7:00 PM EST, and will be broadcasted on PHL17.

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