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Orlando City 3 - Philadelphia 2.

Going toe-to-toe with the always formidable Philadelphia Union, the Lions take three points at Subaru Park.


In a rugged match that included fifteen minutes of extra time, Orlando held on against a Jim Curtin team that has learned how to push the buttons of their opponents. I had suggested that Orlando City manager Oscar Pareja change the shape of his team, and he delivered with a 3-5-2 set up with Luis Muriel and Duncan McGuire playing off each other on top. Here are a few takes from last night's game:

  • Luis Muriel, whether due to the Orlando City change in shape or not, finally got on the Major League Soccer scoring sheet with two goals and assist. His second goal showed all of us that he can deliver a wonder strike, this one from outside the eighteen that can best be described as a laser. Will last night's performance give Muriel the required confidence all strikers need? His fitness is finally intact, going 5.6 miles and eighty-five minutes last night.

  • In a shape that included five midfielders, Nico Lodeiro delivered three assists on the Lions' three goals. Duncan McGuire tallied his sixth goal in all competitions, wreaking havoc with the Union's defenders with his relentless work rate.

  • The effort was again outstanding. No one can assess that Pareja's players have quit on him. It is just the opposite with all the players working hard for all 105 minutes of last night's match. Can the defending be better? Can the Lions clean up their turnover rate in the middle third? Can Facundo Torres and Martin Ojeda make even more of an impact? The answer to these questions is a resounding yes.

  • A win at Subaru Park is never easy. Last night's three points was unfortunately overshadowed by Robin Jansson's injury. With defenders Rafael Santos and Michael Halliday out due to injury, the three center back configuration of Jansson, David Brekalo, and Wilder Cartagena, other than the systemic early goal given up, seemed to hold up well, allowing the five midfielders, Muriel, and McGuire to consistently counterattack.

After eleven matches, Orlando City sits at 3-5-3, good for twelve points and 11th place in the tough eastern division of Major Leage Soccer. Last night's outstanding effort at Philadelphia will hopefully give the Lions momentum heading into Wednesday's clash with Inter Miami. Jansson's injury could be significant, and it will be interesting to see how Pareja and staff handle both his replacement and the shape with the strong side from South Florida.

Gary Levitt @gary1123

Photo credit: Orlando City SC


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