Preview: Orlando City vs. Philadelphia Union – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Wednesday’s Major League Soccer clash between Orlando City and Philadelphia Union, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Orlando City welcome Philadelphia Union to the Exploria Stadium in Florida for an MLS Eastern Conference encounter on Thursday.

The two teams saw their six-game unbeaten runs brought to an end last time out, with Orlando losing at New England Resolution and Philadelphia suffering defeat against San Jose Earthquakes.

Match preview

Orlando City SC head coach Oscar Pareja on April 16, 2023© Reuters

After kick-starting June with back-to-back wins without reply against New York Red Bulls and Colorado Rapids, Orlando City were on the wrong end of a 3-1 scoreline against New England Resolution on Sunday.

Duncan McGuire came off the bench to pull one back 10 minutes from time and provide the Lions with hope of a late comeback, but New England restored their two-goal cushion five minutes later courtesy of a strike from Carlos Gil to claim maximum points.

Oscar Pareja‘s side have finished inside the top seven of the Eastern Conference in each of the last three years and they remain on course to do the same this term as they currently occupy seventh spot, three points clear of DC United in eighth and four points behind Thursday’s opponents Philadelphia in fourth.

Orlando picked up just five points from their opening six MLS matches on home soil earlier this season, but they have since accumulated eight points from their last four at the Exploria Stadium, with 2-0 wins over Los Angeles Galaxy and Colorado sandwiched between 1-1 draws with New York City FC and Atlanta United.

Extending their unbeaten home run to five games is not a given for the Lions, though, as they have experienced a mixed run of results at home against Philadelphia in recent years, winning two, losing two and drawing one of their last five meetings in Florida, including a slender 1-0 loss in July last year.

Philadelphia Union coach Jim Curtin reacts during the game on May 2, 2023© Reuters

Philadelphia were unable to win a fifth straight game and extend their impressive unbeaten MLS run to 10 matches as they were beaten 2-1 away against San Jose Earthquakes a week last Sunday.

Damion Lowe cancelled out an early opener from Jeremy Ebobisse, but the hosts regained the lead just before the hour mark through Miguel Trauco before withstanding last pressure from Philadelphia to claim all three points.

Although the Union were wasteful with a lot of their chances in the final third, striking less than half of their 18 shots on target, Jim Curtin will have few concerns with his side losing their first game in over two months as they remain in a strong position in the Eastern Conference standings.

Having said that, Philadelphia – who won the Eastern Conference last year – still have plenty of work to do if they wish to close the 10-point gap to leaders Cincinnati, with Curtin’s men currently sitting fourth in the table after 17 matches.

The Union have picked up just 10 of their 30 MLS points on the road so far this season, while they lost 2-1 at home against Orlando in their most recent meeting in March, but the thumping 5-1 victory over the Lions prior to that result is sure to give Curtin’s side a boost ahead of Thursday’s fixture.

Orlando City Major League Soccer form:

Philadelphia Union Major League Soccer form:

Team News

Orlando City SC defender Kyle Smith (24) celebrates with defender Rafael Santos (3) after scoring a goal on May 28, 2023© Reuters

Orlando are still without injured defender Abdi Salim (knee), while Peruvian duo Wilder Cartagena and Pedro Gallese, Uruguay’s Facundo Torres and Puerto Rico’s Wilfredo Rivera are all away on international duty.

Gaston Gonzalez has missed the last four matches with a thigh problem and will be assessed ahead of kickoff, as will Adam Grinwis (concussion) who is yet to play in any game this season.

Antonio Carlos and Kyle Smith are both available to return from one-match bans and could be recalled to the back four at the expense of Rodrigo Schlegel and Michael Halliday.

As for Philadelphia, Damion Lowe is doubtful after being forced off with an abdominal injury midway through the first half of Sunday’s defeat to San Jose; Curtin brought on Jack McGlynn as a result and switched from a 3-5-2 formation to a familiar 4-4-2 diamond, a system which could be use from the start on Thursday.

Hungary’s Daniel Gazdag, Cameroon’s Olivier Mbaizo, Jamaica’s Andre Blake and Kenya’s Richard Odada are all away on international duty, while it remains to be seen whether Jose Martinez, who was an unused substitute for Venezuela on Sunday, will return in time to face Orlando.

In-form top scorer Julian Carranza has found the net seven times in the last seven MLS matches and he is expected to continue in attack alongside Mikael Uhre.

Orlando City possible starting lineup:
Stajduhar; Smith, Carlos, Jansson, Santos; Araujo, Martins; Enrique, Pereyra, Angulo; Kara

Philadelphia Union possible starting lineup:
Bendik; Harriel, Glesnes, Elliott, Wagner; Flach; Bueno, McGlynn; Torres; Uhre, Carranza

SM words green background

We say: Orlando City 2-2 Philadelphia Union

Both teams have had no issues finding the net in recent weeks, scoring in each of their last five matches, and plenty of goalmouth action could once again be on the cards at the Exploria Stadium.

Orlando’s recent unbeaten run on home soil bodes well ahead of Thursday’s clash, and considering the visitors have a number of absentees, we believe the host will do enough claim at least a point.

How to watch

You can watch Orlando City vs. Philadelphia Union and every MLS match this season live on Apple TV. Click here for more details on how to subscribe.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting a home win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home Win:data

ID:516648:1false2false3false:QQ:: from db desktop :LenBod:collect14288:

Previews by email

Click here to get Sports Mole‘s daily email of previews and predictions for every major game!