Summer is officially here for Orlando City.
Following a 45-minute weather delay to the kick-off time, the Lions saw an early-goal lead courtesy of Chris Mueller wiped by two red cards and three Philadelphia Union goals as the Eastern Conference leaders claimed a 3-1 victory over a 9-man Orlando squad Wednesday night in front of 22,364 at Exploria Stadium.
Orlando City (6-9-3, 21 points) flew out of the gates strong against the Union, pressuring and creating chances throughout the early portion of the match, including in the eighth minute when a turnover led to Mueller driving down the middle of the field, taking on a back-peddling Jack Elliot to blast a shot on goal that gave the Lions a 1-0 lead and his 5th goal of the season.
The game was leveled in the 32nd minute when Jamiro Monteiro hit Kacper Przybylko wide open with plenty of space to run down the right side. Przybylko danced around Robin Jansson and Brian Rowe before getting off a shot to make it a 1-1 game.
That was just the beginning of Orlando’s crash and burn on the night.
11 minutes later, Jansson was sent off with a straight red card via VAR on a denial of goal scoring opportunity on Fafa Picault. Jansson was originally shown a yellow card for the play by referee Chris Penso before the decision to take a look through video review.
Less than 90 seconds into the second half, after James O’Connor opted to bring on Kamal Miller for Nani and Philadelphia (10-5-5, 35 points) took the lead on Przybylko’s second goal of the night. Picault made it a 3-1 game six minutes later with his only score of the night.
Things went from bad to worse for Orlando City in the 67th minute when Sacha Kljestan made an ugly flying tackle from behind on Monteiro, earning himself a straight red.
Both Kljestan and Jansson will miss Orlando’s away fixture this Saturday at Philadelphia.
The loss comes after a strong run of play by Orlando City, which had won four of its last five games across all competitions, including a 2-0 win over the Columbus Crew this past weekend. The defeat also gives Orlando its 5th loss in nine home games this season, which is tied with Columbus for the most in MLS.
Orlando City is back on the road to finish its two-game series against Philadelphia on Saturday at Talen Energy Stadium at 7:30 p.m. ET.
8′ – Chris Mueller (Orlando)
32′ – Kacper Przybylko (Philadelphia)
46′ – Kacper Przybylko (Philadelphia)
52′ – Fafa Picault (Philadelphia)
How the Lions lined up
Orlando City XI: Brian Rowe; Ruan, Robin Jansson, Lamine Sané, Danilo Acosta; Will Johnson, Sebastian Mendez, Sacha Kljestan; Chris Mueller, Tesho Akindele, Nani
Orlando Bench: Kamal Miller, Kyle Smith, Shane O’Neill, Carlos Ascues, Benji Michel, Dom Dwyer, Greg Ranjitsingh
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