CHESTER, Pa. — The signs of a lackluster performance from the Philadelphia Union crept in around halftime.
Although the Union fought off two second-half goals from visiting Orlando City, they could only settle for a 2-2 draw after a late equalizing header by Kacper Przybylko.
“I really don’t want to talk about the goal I scored,” Przybylko said. “We had everything under control in the first half and it feels like a loss, not like a tie. It feels very bad.”
“Overall, a real disappointing day,” Union manager Jim Curtin said. “Maybe we had a sense that it was going to be a little bit of an easy night. I don’t think that was the case.”
The Lions found the back of the net through Dom Dwyer and Santiago Patiño, which left the Union in desperation mode in the final nine minutes.
In the 90th minute, substitute Matt Real played a terrific cross into Przybylko to level the game, but boos still came down from the stands at Talen Energy Stadium at the final whistle because this was a game the Union should have won.
Philadelphia dominated for long stretches of the game, but it once again ran into the issue of failing to break down a bunkered in team.
The Union started the match on the front foot with their earliest goal of the 2019 campaign.
Fafa Picault played a nice ball from the right wing on to the head of Marco Fabian, who nodded his shot into the left side of the net past Brian Rowe.
The goal was the third of the season for Fabian, who has found the back of the net in almost half of his seven starts in his first year with the club.
Jim Curtin’s side controlled the possession battle and completed a wealth of passes 25-30 yards from goal, but their runs into the penalty area were poor at best and they lacked any execution in front of the net.
The Union showed some bright spots in the second half in transition, which better suits their style of play, but they failed to capitalize on those opportunities before Nani entered the game for the Lions.
“I thought we approached the start of the game well, we got the goal and then we had numerous chances to get the second,” Curtin said. “In this league, if you let teams hang around, you don’t do your job on restarts, you can get punished. We didn’t give up a lot today, but at the same time, these types of games happen over the course of the season. It’s one we’re very disappointed about.”
The Portuguese winger made an instant impact by picking out Dwyer with a free kick from the right side of the field.
Fourteen minutes later, Patiño benefited from a rare Andre Blake rebound in front of net off a corner kick to put Orlando ahead.
“As a forward, I’m always expecting any mistakes from the defender or goalie,” Patino said. “Today the goalkeeper made a mistake and I took advantage of it.”
The Union, who had minimal attacking subs to work with due to injuries, called on Real, a Homegrown left back, to make an impact and he did.
Real fed Przybylko on the equalizer and he almost produced the game-winning assist on a Jack Elliott header, but Brian Rowe made a terrific late-reaction save to send the ball away from the goal line.
The Union next play on Saturday when they visit Real Salt Lake.