It came down to the very last play for the Philadelphia Union.
Following an 89th-minute foul by Orlando City midfielder Antonio Nocerino that placed a free-kick opportunity right outside the middle of the box for the Union, Tranquillo Barnetta fired an unstoppable game-winning goal in the upper-right corner of the net to lead Philadelphia to a 2-1 victory over Orlando City in the City of Brotherly Love.
But it wasn’t over yet. With three minutes of stoppage time added, City midfielder Adrian Winter volleyed a superbly crossed ball from late substitute Carlos Rivas, which was stunningly blocked by Union goalkeeper Andre Blake.
“I’m bitterly disappointed because I thought we should’ve taken something out of the game with the good opportunities that we had on the break,” Orlando City head coach Adrian Heath said. “I thought they played with a lot of intensity, a lot of energy, and we had to weather the storm. I always thought at some stage we were going to get a break in the second half. I thought we were very naive in certain parts of our play this evening, and if we want to achieve what we want to achieve this season, we have to be better when we have the opportunities that we had tonight.”
The scoring action happened early. In the second minute, City right back Rafael Ramos attempted to clear a low cross, but it instead fell into the lap of Union forward C.J. Sapong, who netted the ball to give Philadelphia (3-2-0, 9 points) an easy 1-0 lead.
But the early lead didn’t survive the first half, when Orlando City (2-1-2, 8 points) equalized in the 43rd minute. Lions midfielder Kevin Molino darted a pass right outside the middle of the Union’s box where the ball then popped off Winter’s foot, over both him and the defender, leading to a strongly grounded goal.
Philadelphia came back with a vengeance, though, as their attack kept City goalkeeper Joe Bendik busy. In the 61st minute, a ball found its way in front of the Lions’ net after Aurélien Collin — who made his first start of the season — whiffed on a clear. Ramos seemed to hold the ball for too long with almost every member of both sides posted in front of Bendik’s net. The ball was eventually cleared.
At about the 52nd minute with the game tied at 1-1, Winter found an opportunity for a game-winning goal. Nocerino controlled the ball down the left side of the pitch and popped it into team captain Ricardo Kaká, who turned and unselfishly dumped it off to a cutting No. 32 who sailed the ball just high, as it was tipped by Blake.
The Lions return to the comfort of the Citrus Bowl for their next match, when they play the New England Revolution on Sunday, April 17 at 3:30 p.m.
Júlio Baptista makes very late MLS debut
Following Barnetta’s 90th-minute, match-winning score, Orlando City manager Adrian Heath made his two substitutions for the match: Júlio Baptista (for Nocerino) and Rivas (for Molino). But it was too little too late for the Beast, as he is so affectionately called. The 34-year-old had no effect on the remainder of the match.
Lions player of the match
Among all of the Lions players, Winter had the best game. In the loss, Winter found his second goal of the season after notching two all of last season in nine matches played. Truthfully, the Switzerland native should have had a season-high in goals, following a pass by Kaká that found him cutting toward the middle.
Winter fit in nicely in one of the top three positions with the captain and Molino. On the left side of the pitch, Molino consistently maintained positive possession with a little two-man game between him and Kaká.
Of the Lions’ 14 shots, only three were on-target ones. All three came from Winter (his equalizing goal, his high, deflected miss, his late-match volley).
Orlando City starting XI: Bendik; Luke Boden, Seb Hines, Collin, Ramos; Nocerino, Servando Carrasco, Darwin Cerén; Winter, Kaká, Molino.
Philadelphia Union starting XI: Andre Blake; Fabinho, Ken Tribbett, Richie Marquez, Keegan Rosenberry; Vincent Noguiera, Roland Alberg, Brian Carroll; Sebastian Le Toux, Chris Pontius; C.J. Sapong
|Shots (on goal)||Tackles||Fouls||Possession|
|Orlando City||14 (3)||15||16||48%|
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