Philadelphia Union 6, Orlando City SC 1 | 2017 MLS Match Recap
CHESTER, Pa. — The Philadelphia Union’s season did not end with a trip to the playoffs but it did end with a scoring record, an emotional farewell, and a dominating win in front of their home fans.
In a Decision Day matchup between two clubs already eliminated from postseason contention, the Union rolled to a 6-1 rout of Orlando City SC on Sunday at Talen Energy Stadium.
Ilsinho and Fafa Picault both had two goals and an assist, while CJ Sapong added two goals of his own for the Union, who end the year with an 11-14-9 record — incidentally the same mark as last season when they squeaked into the playoffs. Sapong’s first goal of the game set the club’s single-season scoring record as the striker finished his best season in MLS with a career-high 16 goals.
MLS stalwart Brian Carroll, who announced his retirement on Thursday, made his 371st and final appearance in the league, entering the game to huge cheers to start the second half.
- PHI — 3' — Ilsinho WATCH
- PHI — 6' — Fafa Picault WATCH
- PHI — 26' — CJ Sapong WATCH
- PHI — 38' — Fafa Picault WATCH
- PHI — 63' — Ilsinho WATCH
- ORL — 72' — Dom Dwyer WATCH
- PHI — 74' — CJ Sapong WATCH
- AN IRON MAN’S FAREWELL: Carroll was never a flashy player or a guy who scored a lot of goals. But it’s always been clear that the retiring 15-year-pro was widely respected by coaches, teammates and fans alike. That point was driven home when he was greeted to thunderous “Brian Carroll” chants before the game, as well as a tribute video that included messages from Earnie Stewart, Jim Curtin, Ben Olsen, Sigi Schmid, Conor Casey, Sebastien Le Toux, Frankie Hejduk and his brother-in-law Chad Marshall, the latter of whom he’s tied with as fourth in MLS history with 371 games. In the final appearance — and first of the season — the 36-year-old midfielder who won two MLS Cups and four Supporters’ Shields connected passes, broke up plays and generally looked sharp, just as he did throughout his career.
PLAYING FOR JOBS: Both Union coach Jim Curtin and Orlando coach Jason Kreis said Sunday’s finale was important for guys who are looking for spots on the team next year. If that’s true, Ilsinho made a major case that he should be brought back, registering a goal and an assist in the first six minutes alone while tracking back on defense all night. Picault also showed he wants to keep his starting spot on the wing with a memorable finale, as did Sapong as the team’s lone striker up top in Curtin’s 4-3-3 formation. Of course, the jury may still be out on Curtin himself and other big decisions are certainly still looming for the Union as they’ll look to make plenty of upgrades in 2018.
LIFELESS LIONS: There’s not really much to say about Orlando in this one. The Lions looked lifeless from the start without Kaká, Larin and Will Johnson (suspension) -- tallying only a late Dom Dwyer goal for their efforts. And with Joe Bendik (concussion) out, it was a rough debut for goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr. Like the Union, Orlando will have plenty of questions in the offseason as they continue to chase the club's first MLS postseason berth.
They Said It
“Everything about tonight was special.” — Union midfielder Brian Carroll
- PHI: End of season
- ORL: End of season