Orlando City drew first blood, but the Philadelphia Union took the three points at Exploria Stadium on Wednesday, as the visitors won 3-1 over the nine-man Lions in the first of the teams' two-game set this week.
The game, delayed in the kickoff for 40 minutes due to lightning in the area, means the Union remain atop the Eastern Conference, but Orlando will get an immediate chance at revenge as the teams will meet at Talen Energy Stadium on Saturday.
Orlando City grabbed a good start early, as Chris Mueller picked up a turnover near the center circle and dribbled all the way upfield before finishing the chance himself in the eighth minute.
But the Union had an answer before halftime, striking on a counterattack, with a terrific pass from Jamiro Monteiro converted with a patient finish by Kacper Przybylko. And just before the break, the Union's case got a boost as Orlando City defender Robin Jansson was sent off after Video Review for a harsh tackle from behind on Fafa Picault, as he was breaking towards goal.
Przybylko's strong night continued coming out of halftime, after he scored a go-ahead goal in the 47th minute for Philadelphia. Picault then followed up with one of his own, a bullet from a trademark tight angle, five minutes later, to pad the Union's lead.
Orlando then went down to nine men, as Sacha Kljestan was sent off for a bad tackle on Monteiro in the 67th minute, the American looking genuinely contrite for the foul as he walked off the field.
- 8' – ORL – Chris Mueller | WATCH
- 32' – PHI – Kacper Przybylko | WATCH
- 47' – PHI – Kacper Przybylko | WATCH
- 52' – PHI – Fafa Picault | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: This is one of those games where the red cards, while certainly justified, tipped the scales for the full-strength side. Credit to Philadelphia for punishing Orlando for those ejections, while the Lions will need to shake off a bad night and look ahead to the next one.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Jansson's tackle was the turning point in the game, and it was just too brutal to let slide.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: It was a good team effort all around for the Union, but the edge goes to Przybylko for taking advantage on two of his chances on the night. For a team eager to get a consistent scoring option, the Polish forward seems to be putting his hat in the ring to be the full-time starter.
- ORL: Saturday, July 6 at Philadelphia (7 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US; DAZN in Canada)
- PHI: Saturday, July 6 vs. Orlando (7 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US; DAZN in Canada)