Philadelphia Union 0, Orlando City SC 2 | 2016 MLS Match Recap
On the penultimate weekend of the MLS season, the Philadelphia Union entered their game against already-eliminated Orlando City SC at Talen Energy Stadium on Sunday with a chance to secure their first playoff berth since 2011 – and just the second in club history.
But, despite playing in front of a charged-up home crowd of 18,000-plus, the Union were unable to take care of business, and the final Eastern Conference postseason spot will now be decided on the final day of the season following Philadelphia's 2-0 loss to Orlando City.
The Union lead the New England Revolution for the last available postseason berth by three points with one game remaining. Philadelphia will close the season next Sunday at home against the New York Red Bulls, while New England host Montreal. The Union still hold a heavy 12-goal advantage over New England on goal difference, however.
Rivas' goal came on a counterattack off a Philadelphia corner. The ball was headed out by the Orlando defense and Union defender Fabinho appeared to have the ball under control. But Rivas charged at Fabinho from behind and knocked the ball away, pushing it forward and setting up a footrace with Union defender Keegan Rosenberry, who couldn't prevent the ball from entering the back of the net.
Baptista would provide the final margin on a breakaway off another counterattack.
1. SEASON-ENDING FADE: This is no way to enter the playoffs. Despite failing to secure a postseason berth Sunday, the Union are still likely to lock up the final Eastern Conference playoff spot next week, as they have a massive goal difference advantage over the New England Revolution (minus-1, compared to minus-13). But Philadelphia haven't won a game since August 27 (2-0 over Sporting Kansas City), and are 0-4-2 since then, so if they can't reverse their form, it'll be a short postseason.
2. DON'T BLAME THE GOALIE: On the stat sheet, Andre Blake is credited with two saves, and charged with two goals against, and a .500 save percentage isn't in soccer. But both saves were diving efforts (check this one out) and both goals came on breakaways, so it's another lesson that sometimes, the statistics alone don't tell the story.
3. TWO GOALS, TOO LATE: It's nice for that Orlando City's players obviously haven't given up, despite being already eliminated from playoff contention. There will be changes next season, obviously, and making a positive impression on coach Jason Kreis now could help a player hold on to his job in 2017. But still, it would have been nice to have had these two goals in the last game, when the playoffs were still a possibility.