Union going through 'grind,' with Orlando City next

ByField Level Media ESPN logo
Saturday, May 11, 2024

The Philadelphia Union will try to snap a four-match winless run Saturday night when they host an Orlando City side mired in its own struggles.

The Union (3-2-5, 14 points) won three in a row before their recent 0-2-2 stumble, which included rare consecutive home defeats.

Philadelphia looked to be headed to a third straight loss last Saturday until just before halftime of what turned into a 2-2 draw on the road against D.C. United.

The Union had a 2-0 lead before D.C. United's Alejandro Bedoya pulled a goal back through a set piece just before the break and Jack McGlynn scored on a brilliant effort from distance to seal a share of the points.

The Union still enter the weekend in an uncharacteristic eighth spot in the Eastern Conference table, though manager Jim Curtin still believes better days are ahead.

"I'll still take this group over anyone," Curtin said. "Do I wish we had a couple more wins on the board? Absolutely. But at the same time, it's going to be a grind. You guys know how hard the league is, and I still believe strongly that this team can win."

It's been even tougher for Orlando, who finished second in the East regular-season table a season ago.

The Lions (2-5-3, 9 points) are coming off a pair of one-goal home losses, 2-1 to Toronto FC on April 27 and 1-0 against FC Cincinnati last Saturday.

Orlando City has struggled all season to create chances, with Saturday's loss marking the fourth time the team has failed to score.

New attacking signing Luis Muriel has failed to find the net in nine appearances (five starts), and while Duncan McGuire has four goals, no one else has more than one tally.

Orlando City Manager Oscar Pareja insists the performances have been stronger than the outcomes.

"The boys haven't stopped working trying to do the right things," Pareja said. "And I think the performances that they have had is one thing and the results are other things. ... What happens is that, in this industry, you need to win games."

Pareja will be without center back Rodrigo Schlegel after he was sent off early in the defeat to Cincinnati. Striker Julian Carranza will be out for Philadelphia as he serves a yellow card-accumulation suspension.

--Field Level Media

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