With Orlando City SC eliminated from MLS Cup playoff contention following their 0-1 home loss to Montreal Impact, Jason Kreis‘ Lions are playing for the pride in the final two regular season fixtures.
Travelling to Talen Energy Stadium to take on Jim Curtin’s Philadelphia Union in the final road game of the 2016 campaign, Adrian Heath‘s Orlando City SC visited Pennsylvania in similar circumstances last year.
Going out with a whimper courtesy of a 1-0 loss on the final day of last season, Jason Kreis will be hoping his City players remain professional despite seeing their playoff dream die.
Essentially, several Orlando City SC players will be playing for their futures in the final two league games with Kreis having already admitted that he wants to “give everyone a chance” heading into the off-season.
As for Union, Jim Curtin’s side are currently clinging on to sixth place (32 played, 42 points) in the Eastern Conference right now and a victory here will be vital to demoralise New England Revolution directly below them (32 played, 39 points).
With so much still on the line for Philadelphia Union and the pressure now off for Orlando City SC, the Lions could prove a dangerous opponent depending on their motivation and professionalism on Sunday.
So without further ado, here are all the stats that matter heading into Orlando City SC‘s final road game of the 2016 Major League Soccer campaign.
2015/16 head-to-head stats
Last meeting five months ago now, May’s 2-2 draw against Philadelphia Union set the tone for two further 2-2 draws immediately following this result.
As every Lions fans has been painfully aware all season long, Orlando City SC have simply drawn too many fixtures and with less than 20 minutes to go in this one, Cyle Larin completed a comeback to put City 2-1 up in the 71st minute.
Frustratingly, it was only four minutes later in which City surrendered an equaliser to Ken Tribbett in a game that Orlando City SC might have even lost late on.
Orlando City SC 2 Philadelphia Union 2 – Highlights – May 25, 2016 (Credit: Major League Soccer)
The bad news for Orlando City SC is that Philadelphia Union have enjoyed the better of this game series so far in Major League Soccer.
With the Lions yet to record a victory against Union, 2015’s regular season fixtures included a draw and a loss while this campaign, Orlando City SC lost 2-1 at Talen Energy Stadium back in April before playing out a 2-2 draw at Camping World Stadium a month later.
Yet to defeat Philadelphia Union in Major League Soccer of course, Sunday would be a great time to start.
Playing for pride in our final two regular season fixtures, it’s all about the players showing Jason Kreis what they’re made of ahead of who is cut and retained for 2017.
Union have actually lost one more game (12) than Orlando City SC‘s eleven so far this season but Jim Curtin’s side have crucially won more (11 to City’s 7) and drawn less than the Lions.
Returning to his Swiss homeland with FC St Gallen following the conclusion of the 2016 campaign, one Union player Orlando City SC won’t miss is Tranquillo Barnetta.
Scoring in the last two meetings between the sides, Orlando City SC were cruelly denied a hard-fought point when the former Bayer Leverkusen man curled in an expertly taken free-kick in stoppage time in Chester, Pennsylvania back in March.
With referee Jair Marrufo later adjudged to have made the wrong call in not flagging Union players offside as Barnetta struck his free-kick, this was a tough defeat to take for Adrian Heath and City supporters.
Philadelphia Union 2 Orlando City SC 1 – Highlights – April 8, 2016 (Credit: Major League Soccer)
Philadelphia Union form
Losing three of those games while tying two, this has been the reason why Jim Curtin’s side can now be reeled in by both New England Revolution and Columbus Crew.
Clinging onto sixth place right now with a three-point advantage over Revs heading into the final games of the season, a victory over Orlando City SC is imperative for Union.
Narrowly losing out 3-2 to New York Red Bulls last time out, Philadelphia Union have managed to score in their last four MLS fixtures however.
New York Red Bulls 3 Philadelphia Union 2 – Highlights – October 1, 2016 (Credit: New York Red Bulls)
On the last two occasions that Philadelphia Union have gone head-to-head with Orlando City SC, the Pennsylvania-based have scored two goals past the Lions.
Orlando City SC are by far and away the team who has conceded the most goals (58) in the Eastern Conference this term and with goal threats such as Chris Pontius and Roland Alberg in Union’s armoury, these dangermen need to be shut down.
Orlando City SC form
A depressing stat but one that is unfortunately reality!
September’s scintillating 1-4 victory away at Montreal Impact truly was a bolt from the blue in a disappointing campaign for Orlando City SC not only at large but particularly on the road.
While everybody accepts that road points are that much harder to attain given the long distances travelled in Major League Soccer, the fact Orlando City SC have failed to win FOURTEEN of their last FIFTEEN away fixtures is a huge sore point.
Jason Kreis will be more than aware of this form and is sure to address it as the club looks forward to 2017.