The Philadelphia Union surged back into an Audi MLS Cup Playoffs spot on Sunday afternoon at Subaru Park, beating Orlando City SC 3-1 in an emphatic Eastern Conference performance. The Lions hold onto a top-four spot despite the defeat, but find themselves in danger of dropping down the table and have lost three straight.
The Union were largely the better side in the first half and were rewarded for a steady stream of pressure in the 37th minute, albeit with a healthy dose of controversy. Kacper Przybylko appeared to foul Orlando defender Rodrigo Schlegel during a set piece, and indeed the assistant referee raised his flag – but advantage was played as Orlando won possession back. The Lions immediately turned things over to a strong Union counter-press, and the home side took advantage.
Orlando responded well in the second half. After a good spell of pressure, Mauricio Pereira picked out a wide-open Ruan on the back post. The wingback displayed excellent technique to find the net, curling a header from a tight angle off the post and in.
The equalizer lasted just four minutes, though. After a series of missed tackles in and around the penalty area, the ball eventually found Przybylko for a simple finish from close range, his first goal in 10 games for the Union.
- BIG PICTURE: After their midweek Concacaf Champions League exit to Liga MX's Club America, Sunday marked a much-needed bounce-back result for Philadelphia, who snuck past D.C. United into the East's final playoff spot. Meanwhile, Orlando have lost three straight and look a long way off their early-season form. They were without Nani and Andres Perea (red card suspensions) in this one, though never quite reached second gear.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Przybylko’s 61st-minute goal squashed an Orlando comeback before it truly blossomed, and it was all Union after they took the 2-1 lead.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Kacper Przybylko returned to form during a crucial match, scoring twice and getting involved in Wagner’s opener. If the Union are to make a splash in the playoff race, they’ll need their attackers producing consistently.