Philadelphia Union 1, Orlando City SC 1 | MLS is Back Tournament Match Recap
Illsinho came off the bench to score a go-ahead goal, but Mauricio Pereyra canceled it out with a quick equalizer, and the Philadelphia Union and Orlando City SC finished in a 1-1 draw in Group A play of the MLS is Back Tournament on Monday.
With the result, Orlando clinched the top spot in Group A by virtue of their superior goal differential after both sides finished with seven points.
There were few chances for either side in the first half, with Orlando's best look coming in the 28th minute off a laser shot from Tesho Akindele that was denied by a snap reaction save from Philadelphia goalkeeper Andre Blake.
Philadelphia had a chance at the opener in the 45th minute off a shot from Brenden Aaronson from inside the area, but the 19-year-old midfielder put the attempt just wide of goal to leave the match still scoreless into the halftime break.
Ilsinho found the breakthrough for Philadelphia in the 68th with a well-taken finish from a difficult angle inside the box. But the lead would evaporate in short order, as Pereya got on the end of a cross from Nani just two minutes later and nodded home the leveler, giving the Lions the goal they needed to clinch the group.
Man of the Match presented by Heineken
He wasn't tested a huge amount, but Blake came through when Philadelphia needed him, most notably on a spectacular 66th-minute save on Antonio Carlos off a headed corner kick.
- THE BIG PICTURE: With both sides already through to the Knockout Stage, the match felt stuck in neutral for much of the night and for a while it seemed like it might never get out. Ilsinho ensured that wouldn't be the case, but this was still a tame overall performance from two teams that had showcased some dynamic attacking play through their first two games. The stakes in the Knockout Stage will be much higher, so expect them both to turn it back up when it commences.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Philadelphia's opener could have been a momentum-changer, but Pereyra's equalizer got the Lions right back in it and wound up clinching Orlando first place in Group A — not where many had picked them to finish coming into the tournament.
- YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: If there's a more lethal super-sub in MLS than Ilsinho, we don't know who it is. The Brazilian did what he does best on Monday, making an immediate impact after entering the match.
- PHI: Saturday, July 25 (opponent to be determined) | 10:30 pm ET | ESPN2, ESPN Deportes in US; TSN in Canada
- ORL: Saturday, July 25 (opponent to be determined) | 8 pm ET | ESPN2, ESPN Deportes in US; TSN in Canada