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Philadelphia Union suffers difficult 2-1 loss to Orlando City SC



Photo by Jack Verdeur

The Philadelphia Union suffered its third loss of the season on Saturday night, as it dropped its first home game in 18 months to Orlando City SC 2-1. Two early goals from Orlando were too much to overcome for the Union, as Andrés Perea scored the only goal for the home side.

It was the team’s first loss at home since the 2021 Eastern Conference Final against New York City FC. Similarly to that loss, the Union suffered significant losses to its starting lineup. In addition to missing starting goalkeeper Andre Blake with an injury, the Union missed Daniel Gazdag, Jose Martinez, Jack McGlynn, Quinn Sullivan, and Brandan Craig to international duty. Julian Carranza was also absent after receiving a red card the week before against Chicago Fire FC.

It didn’t take long for Orlando to get to work in front of the Union’s goal. In just the second minute of play, Martín Ojeda received a ball over the heads of the backline, and after a quick sprint, slotted a shot past Joe Bendik.

Just four minutes later, the Lions doubled their lead. Iván Angulo drove into the penalty area, and worked the ball around Bendik for a quick second goal.

As things began to look bleak early on for the home side, Perea stepped up. After a header from the former Orlando midfielder banged off the post, Perea finished with a firm strike to the far netting to bring the Union back into the game.

While neither team scored for the duration of the first half, the game was frenetic. Jack Elliott nearly curled a free kick into the net, while Bendik had to step up on multiple occasions to avoid allowing a third goal.

Philadelphia seemed to keep that level of intensity at the beginning of the second half, but both teams became more patient as the second half wore on. When substitutes began entering the pitch in the 70th minute, quality of chances slowed for both sides.

Despite some good chances late in the match from Matt Real and Martín Ojeda, neither team was able to find the net one last time.

If there was a man of the match for Philadelphia, it was Perea. His goal was the Union’s only score of the night, and he was a massive contributor on the attack and provided some much-needed help on defense.

The Union will face Sporting Kansas City at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 1 as it tries to restart some momentum in MLS.

Joe is a junior at Penn State studying journalism and sports studies, among other things. He's covered the Union since 2017 and has written for Brotherly Game / Philadelphia Soccer Now since 2019. He seeks to answer life's greatest questions, such as, "How did I get here?" and "Where is that large automobile?" You can find Joe on Twitter (iamjoelister) or via email (

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