Orlando City SC vs. Philadelphia Union | 2017 MLS Match Preview
Orlando City SC vs. Philadelphia Union
2017 MLS Regular Season
Orlando City Stadium - Orlando, Fla.
Saturday, March 18 - 7:30 pm ET
WATCH: MLS LIVE
Orlando City SC had to put their plans for how they'll proceed without injured captain Kaká on hold when last week's game in New England was postponed due to extreme cold. Now, after a season-opening win over New York City FC in their stadium opener, the Lions get to play their second straight game at their new digs — but without one of the league's premier players, who will miss the next few weeks with a hamstring injury.
The Lions' opponent will be a Philadelphia Union side that is coming off two draws to start the 2017 campaign — a mostly uneventful scoreless one in Vancouver and an action-packed 2-2 one vs. Toronto FC in their home opener last week.
Orlando City SC
Despite Kaká exiting early in their Week 1 contest, Orlando City rode a Cyle Larin goal — and a strong all-around performance from the third-year striker — and some big Joe Bendik saves, including the best one of the week, to open their new stadium in style. Now comes the hard part as Larin will need to continue to handle much of the offensive load with Kaká out, while Orlando newcomer Giles Barnes and Matias Perez Garcia take on expanded roles in the attack.
- Suspended: None
- Int’l Duty: None
- Injury Report: OUT - M Kaka (hamstring), M Tony Rocha (quad strain), D Seb Hines (knee); DAY-TO-DAY - D Kevin Alston (hamstring), D Rafael Ramos (hamstrings)
Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Joe Bendik — Donny Toia, Jonathan Spector, Jose Aja, Will Johnson — Antonio Nocerino, Servando Carrasco, Matias Perez-Garcia, Giles Barnes — Carlos Rivas, Cyle Larin
Notes: Orlando’s win over NYCFC was their second consecutive regular-season home win, dating back to last year. They’ve only had two other home winning streaks, and have won three home games in a row just once in franchise MLS history.
After failing to find the back of the net in their first game, strikers Jay Simpson and C.J. Sapong both scored in last weekend's draw with the defending MLS Cup finalist. Sapong came up big for Philadelphia after the starter, Simpson, left the game — and went to the hospital — with a rib injury. Fabian Herbers also continued to showcase his growing offensive ability with a quality assist on the game-tying goal, while former US national team stalwart Oguchi Onyewu looked smooth once again anchoring the defense alongside Richie Marquez.
- Suspended: None
- Int’l Duty: None
- Injury Report: OUT - D Joshua Yaro (shoulder surgery), M/D Maurice Edu (left ankle/left tibia surgery recovery); QUESTIONABLE - F Charlie Davies (left ankle sprain), M Ilsinho (left hamstring strain), D Ken Tribbett (right Achilles strain), F Jay Simpson (ribs), M Brian Carroll (illness)
Projected starting XI (3-5-2): Andre Blake (GK) — Keegan Rosenberry, Oguchi Onyewu, Richie Marquez, Fabinho — Haris Medunjanin, Derrick Jones — Fabian Herbers, Alejandro Bedoya, Chris Pontius — C.J. Sapong
Notes: Philadelphia opening the season with consecutive draws means that the Union are now winless in their last nine regular-season MLS games (5L-4D). The Union have only kept one clean sheet in that stretch.
These two teams have been relatively even since the Lions entered the league in 2015 — particularly in Orlando, where the match-ups in each of the last seasons ended in draws.
ORL-PHI All-Time MLS Meetings (5 games)
- Overall: PHI lead 2-1-2 (5 ORL goals, 5 PHI goals)
- at ORL: Series tied 0-0-2 (2 ORL goals, 2 PHI goals)
Referee: Fotis Pazakos
Assistant Referees: CJ Morgante, Danny Thornberry
Fourth Official: Silviu Petrescu