MLS Preview and Prediction: Orlando City vs Philadelphia Union

Competition: Major League Soccer – Orlando City vs. Philadelphia Union
Venue: Orlando City Stadium – Saturday, March 18 – 19:30 ET (23:30 GMT) 
Match Odds: Orlando 19/20 – Draw 5/2 – Philadelphia 5/2

Match Preview

Orlando City welcome Philadelphia Union to their new home for just the second game of their campaign on Saturday evening, with the visitors still looking for their first win of 2017.

The Lions have had two weeks to prepare for this game following the postponement of last Saturday’s game at New England. That has given Jason Kreis extra time to prepare for the Union but also means that match fitness levels might be inferior to those of the Philadelphia players.

Orlando opened the season with a 1-0 victory over NYCFC to give the new Orlando City Stadium a perfect opening night. Another incredible atmosphere is expected here and the hosts will hope that can inspire them to three more points.

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Philadelphia are still looking for their first win of the season after back-to-back draws so far. Their opening 0-0 draw at Vancouver was followed by last Saturday’s 2-2 home draw with Toronto.

The Union led in that game and missed a penalty at a pivotal time but showed good spirit to earn a point after going behind in the second half. They will looking to remain unbeaten this week but will fancy their chances of getting three important points against an Eastern Conference rival.

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Both these sides are expected to be fighting for a similar position come the end of the season, with both likely to be fighting for one of the final playoff spots in the East. It might only be Week 3 but this is an important fixture for both sets of fans.

This will be the sixth MLS clash between the two sides since Orlando entered the league two years ago. Philadelphia hold the advantage based on previous meetings, having put up a 2-1-2 record against the Lions so far.

Team News

Orlando will be without Kaka as the star man is out for at least another month with that hamstring injury sustained early in the win over NYCFC. Rafael Ramos, Tony Rocha and Kevin Alston are all ruled out with hamstring injuries too. Giles Barnes is set to start his first MLS game for Orlando in Kaka’s absence.

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Philadelphia striker Jay Simpson scored on his home debut last week but was forced off with a rib injury just moments after heading in the opening goal. He is a doubt for Saturday’s game as a result, while the same applies to Ilsinho, Charlie Davies and Ken Tribbett. Maurice Edu and Josh Yaro are still sidelined.

Key Points

Orlando City’s form: W

Philadelphia Union’s form: D/D

Key Stat: Philadelphia have not won any of their last ten MLS games, dating back to a 2-0 home win over SKC in August.

Key Player: Giles Barnes – Barnes wasn’t set to be an automatic starter in this Orlando side following his offseason switch to Florida but has been thrust into the limelight following Kaka’s injury. He came off the bench and grabbed the assist to guide the Lions to victory two weeks ago so the hosts need him to be just as efficient in the final third here.

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Score Prediction

Orlando City 1-0 Philadelphia Union – This is likely to be a close battle between two sides that know this is a winnable fixture. Philadelphia haven’t won in ten and are unlikely to spoil Orlando’s extended home party on Saturday. The Lions defended well against NYCFC and might be able to earn a repeat result if they can create enough chances without Kaka in the team.

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MLS Preview and Prediction: Orlando City vs Philadelphia Union

Competition: Major League Soccer – Orlando City vs. Philadelphia Union

Venue: Citrus Bowl – Wednesday, May 25 – 19:30 ET (00:30 BST)

Match Odds: Orlando City 1/1 – Draw 5/2 – Philadelphia Union 13/5

Match Preview

Orlando City play host to Philadelphia Union on Wednesday night in the first of two games for both Eastern Conference sides’ this week.

Orlando have managed only one win in their last seven, with their win against Montreal Impact last weekend ending a run that saw Orlando spiral down the Eastern Conference. However, that victory saw them get back into the playoff slots and they will now be looking to kick on again.

With players like Julio Baptista, Cyle Larin, Antonio Nocerino and Kaka all looking to make an impact, there should be no reason for Orlando to not make the playoffs this season.

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Philadelphia Union are currently the best team in the Eastern Conference and have the best defence as well – an impressive turnaround when you consider their poor form last season.

Much of their success this season has been down to the goal scoring of CJ Sapong. His form hasn’t gone unnoticed, with a potential call-up to the USMNT being spoken about.

The Union’s form this season would be even more impressive if the Colorado Rapids weren’t top of the Supporters’ Shield standings at this stage, but their feats should still be applauded to this point.

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That being said, Philadelphia will definitely have their eyes on the Eastern Conference title this year, with a playoff place looking nailed on.

This will be the second meeting between the two sides this season. Philadelphia won 2-1 in the first clash thanks to a late Tranquillo Barnetta free-kick. The Lions have yet to beat the Union in three attempts.

Team News

Orlando City are without Pedro Ribeiro, Darwin Ceren, Seb Hines and Rafael Ramos all through injury.

Philadelphia Union are still missing Maurice Edu, who is recovering from a stress fracture. Anderson is still a doubt with a right shoulder dislocation.

Key Points

Orlando City’s last five: L/D/D/L/W

Philadelphia Union’s last five: W/D/D/D/W

Key Stat: Orlando are undefeated in their last 12 home matches in MLS.

Key Player: Kaka – The former World Player of the Year turned on the magic last weekend against Montreal Impact where he assisted both goals. He’s the maverick of this Orlando side and will be extremely important on Wednesday night once again.

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Score Prediction

Orlando City 2-2 Philadelphia Union – Orlando’s unbeaten record at home will be hard for Philly to end. Yet the Union are unbeaten in their last five and look in great shape. This one has draw written all over it, though there should be some goals.