Union’s fight for a playoff spot continues this Sunday when they host Orlando City SC in the second to last game of the season. Returning home after a three game away stretch, the Union look to rebound after capturing only one point and dropping from 4th place in the East to just above the playoff line, 6th place. New England Revolution sits 3 points behind Philly and are taking on the Chicago Fire this Sunday. A victory for the Union and a tie or a loss for the Revolution would give the Union a spot in the playoffs. Another scenario for the Union to clinch a playoff berth would be getting a point against Orlando along with a Revolution loss against Chicago. A win for the Union this weekend coupled with a DC United and Montreal Impact losses would bounce the Union up to 4th place. While the Union fight for a playoff spot, Orlando sits in 9th in the East and are eliminated from making the playoffs. They are currently above Chicago by 7 points and are tailing the Columbus Crew by 1 point and New England by 4.
The Union have faced Orlando twice already in the regular season. The first match took place on April 8 and saw the Union beat Orlando 2-1 at Talen Energy Stadium. CJ Sapong opened up the scoring in the 2nd minute of play only for Orlando to tie it up before halftime. Tranquillo Barnetta would play hero in this game as his free kick goal in the 90th minute, won the game for the Union (video below). The second match between these two teams took place down in Orlando on May 25th and ended in a 2-2 draw. Tranquillo Barnetta scored the first goal on the game to give the Union the lead. Orlando followed up with 2 goals in 3 minutes to take the lead. Ken Tibbett would score his first goal on the season to tie the game up. All four goals in this game came in the second half.
The Union will look to bounce back this Sunday after their last game verses the New York Red Bulls ended in a wild 3-2 loss. Fabian Herbers started the scoring off by netting his 3rd goal of the season. New York answered back right before halftime and right after halftime. Sacha Kljestan tied the game up before half and Bradley Wright-Phillips gave the Red Bulls the lead coming out of halftime. Chris Pontius gave the Union life with his 12th goal of the season only to see the Red Bulls win the game after a 66th minute goal by Dax McCarty. Alejandro Bedoya and Joshua Yaro both left the game with injuries, however, Alejandro Bedoya should return for this weekend game and Yaro could be featured as well.
Predictions and observations for this week’s game:
-Ex-Union Players playing for Orlando: Pedro Ribeiro (2014)
-Predicted Score line: 3-1 Union
-Predicted Union Lineup: Blake, Fabinho, Marquez, Tribbett, Rosenberry, Carroll, Bedoya, Pontius, Barnetta, Herbers, Sapong.
-CJ Sapong is currently sitting on an 8 game scoreless drought.