A weakened Orlando City hits the road for a challenging matchup with the Philadelphia Union | OSJ Match Preview

Photo: Mark Thor, Orlando City

Orlando City is on the road this weekend to make a stop in Chester, PA for their first meeting of the season with the Philadelphia Union on Saturday night at Subaru Park (7:30 pm, Apple TV – Free).

Both clubs, especially the Lions, are looking to rebound following league losses over the weekend. Philadelphia fell 3-2 in Montreal, while Orlando was taken down at home, 2-1, by Charlotte FC. After allowing a pair of goals in the first half, Martin Ojeda was able to find his first goal with the club, but the Lions ultimately were not able to mount enough of a comeback, taking home their first loss in four MLS games this season.

Now, attention turns towards Philadelphia, the reigning Eastern Conference champions and one of the league’s strongest sides over the last several seasons. Their domination of the league includes Orlando City, which has recorded losses in each of their last three games against the Union, including a 5-1 drubbing in Philly last September.

Overall, the Union have won 13 straight matches at home in league play, including the playoffs, the second-longest streak in MLS history.

Roster notes

The Lions are missing seven players due to international duty this weekend, including:

  • Michael Halliday and Thomas Williams are with the United States U-20s for games against France, England and Serbia’s U-21 sides, while defender Alex Freeman and midfielder Favian Loyola will face Argentina and Racing Club de Avellaneda with the U.S. U-19s.
  • Facundo Torres joins Uruguay in Japan for friendlies vs. Japan and South Korea.
  • Pedro Gallese and Wilder Cartagena were called up to Peru for friendlies against Germany and Morocco.

As far as the injury report reads, Ercan Kara is listed as questionable with a right thigh injury that kept him out of action against Charlotte this past weekend.

Projected Starting XI:

From right to left: Mason Stajduhar; Kyle Smith, Rodrigo Schlegel, Robin Jansson, Luca Petrasso; Cesar Araujo, Mauricio Pereyra; Dagur Dan Thorhallsson, Martin Ojeda, Ivan Angulo; Ramiro Enrique

A look at Philadelphia

The Union are dealing with international departures themselves, leaving them just as shorthanded. They’ll be without:

  • Brandan Craig (D, USA U-20)
  • Dániel Gazdag (M, Hungary)
  • Damion Lowe (D, Jamaica)
  • José Martínez (M, Venezuela)
  • Jack McGlynn (M, USA U-20)
  • Richard Odada (M, Kenya)
  • Quinn Sullivan (M, USA U-20)

Manager Jim Curtain has already announced that goalkeeper Andre Blake will be on the sidelines for this match as he continues to nurse an oblique injury he suffered a couple weeks ago, meaning Joe Bendik is expected to get the start for the second week in a row, facing his former club.

The Union enter the weekend 6th in the East on six points, just one ahead of Orlando. They’ve collected two wins and two losses this season.

What they’re saying

Mason Stajduhar is expected to get the start this weekend with Gallese away. It’ll be Stajduhar’s first start of the season.

Here’s Mason on his mentality knowing this week that he’ll be starting:

“As you get closer to the game, today feels almost like a normal matchday minus four, regardless of whether I knew I was going to play or not. As I get closer to the game – Thursday, Friday, and Saturday with the game – the excitement is going to ramp up for sure. I just want to take advantage of the opportunity the best that I can.”

For more Orlando soccer news, follow the Soccer Journal on Twitter: @OSJSoccer


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