CHESTER, Pa. — Orlando City had to fight for every inch a week ago to claim all three points at home against the Portland Timbers. On Friday, they made their few opportunities count as they pounced on the Philadelphia Union for a comfortable victory.
A pair of clinical first-half finishes by Dom Dwyer and rookie Chris Mueller propelled the Lions to their third consecutive victory, easing past the Union 2-0 at Talen Energy Stadium.
Dwyer’s smooth right-footed finish past Andre Blake broke the scoreless deadlock in the 39th minute. The U.S. international got on the end of Sacha Kljestan’s chipped assist and beat Blake to the bottom-right corner. Dwyer now has four goals in his last three matches and 99 professionally.
Miscommunication from the Union’s Jack Elliott and Matt Real allowed Mueller to double Orlando’s lead before halftime. Mueller stole the ball from Elliott and beat Blake to the bottom-left corner in the 45th minute. Friday marked the second consecutive match in which Mueller found the back of the net.
The Union had their chances in both halves, but Joe Bendik denied the hosts chances of hitting paydirt. David Accam’s right-footed effort in the 16th minute forced Bendik into his first save of the night, before the Ghanaian scuffed wide of the post later in the half.
Alejandro Bedoya’s right-footed shot in the 61st minute looked headed for the bottom-left corner, but Bendik dove down and pushed wide the effort.
The hosts offensive struggles continued throughout the second-half with them failing to show confidence in front of goal. Bedoya’s blistering cross on the right wing was too high for C.J. Sapong while Ilsinho’s low driven cross missed two Union targets on the doorstep.
At the final whistle, the Lions held on for a comfortable 2-0 road win, their first on thw road this season. Bendik was strong for Orlando, making five saves for his first clean sheet since Sept. 30th, 2017. Blake made one save for Philadelphia, but ultimately the Union were held goalless for the third time this season.
Orlando City (3-2-1) returns home on April 21st as they welcome the San Jose Earthquakes to town. The Lions currently sit in fifth place in the Eastern Conference on 10 points.
The Union (1-2-2) are now winless in their last four matches, failing to score in three. Jim Curtin’s side next head on the road for a date with FC Dallas also on the 21st.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Dom Dwyer earned man of the match honors, scoring the winning goal for Orlando City. The 27-year-old didn’t have many chances but made the most of his limited ones. Dwyer is hitting his stride for the Lions, which now sees them sitting midtable in the East.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
After conceding, Philadelphia continued to press for an equalizer. Chris Mueller had other ideas, poking the ball away from Jack Elliott and beating Blake with a sublime finish. The Union never truly recovered from the quick succession of first-half goals.
MATCH TO FORGET
In what has been the Union’s strength all season, their backline was horrid in the home defeat. Jack Elliott’s lack of concentration allowed Orlando to double their lead, while Matt Real also struggled. Elliott was subbed in the second-half due to a right leg injury, and was replaced by fellow homegrown product Mark McKenzie.