The Philadelphia Union have not made it to the playoffs since 2011. Their five year playoff drought is the longest in the MLS currently. On Sunday, the Union had a chance to clinch their place in the playoffs. The New England Revolution are only three points behind the Union and are the only team challenging for that sixth spot. Here are the scenarios for which the Union could’ve clinched a playoff spot:
Union Win/Revs Draw
Union Win/Revs Lose.
Philadelphia Union Shut Out at Home Against Orlando City
All the Union need to do was win and the Revs had to not win away against the Chicago Fire. If the Revs and Union both got the same result, the Revs would have to make up a -13 goal differential next week to make the playoffs. And that is a near impossible feat. The only thing standing in the way of the Union was Orlando City
The Union have never lost to Orlando City with the all time record being 2W-0L-2D. This year, the two have met twice. In April, the Union won the first game at home thanks to a last minute free kick from Tranquillo Barnetta. In May, the two met in the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, FL. The game ended in a 2-2 draw. Barnetta scored again and Ken Tribbett netted his first MLS goal. Orlando since has been eliminated from playoff contention. Having nothing to lose, Orlando heading into the game wanted to spoil the Union’s party at all costs.
Starting Line Ups
Philadelphia Union: Blake; Rosenberry, Tribbett, Marquez, Fabinho; Bedoya, Carroll, Herbers, Barnetta, Pontius; Sapong
Orlando City: Bendik; Ambrose, Hines, Aja, Ramos; Higuita, Nocerino, Kaka, Perez Garcia; Larin, Rivas
The first 25 minutes of the game seemed pretty much even. Both teams had their fair share of chances. The half was also chippy, mirroring the events from the first two games. Around the 35th minute, a ball one timed by Fabian Herbers sailed over the bar. It was the Unions best chance of the half. The game stayed 0-0. The biggest chance of the half for both teams went to Orlando. In the 42nd minute, Kaka from the right side took a shot that deflected off of Ken Tribbett. It hit the left post and bounced right into the hands of Andre Blake. The game kept at 0-0 and the half would end at that score line.
In a play that resembled Steven Gerrard slip to help cost Liverpool the English Premier League in 2014, an errant ball from a corner kick fell to Fabinho. Fabinho took a bad touch backwards and Carlos Rivas pounced on it. He took the ball 60 yards and slid it past Andre Blake with some help from Keegan Rosenberry to give Orlando the 1-0 lead. The goal looked like it deflated the Union and the team looked sloppy and disorganized in the second half. In the fifth minute of injury time, Julio Baptista took a shot that deflected off of Andre Blake and into the net to seal a 2-0 win for Orlando.
The good news
In other news, the Revs lost 2-1 to Chicago. With this result, The Revs would have to make up a -12 goal differential now. Needless to say, unless something extraordinary happens, the Union have all but made the playoffs for the second time in its history. Next week the Union play the New York Red Bulls at home. This game is crucial as the team needs the confidence to make a run in the playoffs.