CHESTER, Penn. (October 16, 2016) – In its final road game of 2016, Orlando City SC (8-11-14, 38 points) earned a 2-0 victory over the Philadelphia Union (11-13-9, 42 points) on Sunday afternoon at Talen Energy Stadium. Carlos Rivas and Júlio Baptista scored as the Lions earned their fifth clean sheet of the season.
“I’m obviously very pleased. Pleased with the guys’ effort, pleased that we got the shutout, pleased with the three points. I told the guys before the game that I feel like every time they’ve committed to defending we’ve gotten a good result,” Lions Head Coach Jason Kreis said. “We’ll get our attacking chances, we’ll score our goals, it’s just a question of whether we’re 100 percent committed to defend. When we are, we get results.”
After a couple strong outings, Rivas made his third consecutive appearance and his seventh start of the season. The Colombian played alongside All-Star striker Cyle Larin up top and was a force all day. Rivas had several promising looks at goal and capitalized in the 59th minute when he drove the ball past two defenders and into the Union box. The 22-year-old flicked the ball past goalkeeper Andre Blake for the eventual game-winner.
Baptista, the Lions’ Brazilian supersub, found himself in a similar position in stoppage time. After entering the match in the 72nd minute in place of Larin, the forward drove the net and rifled a shot through Blake and into the back of the net. It was Baptista’s fifth goal of the season.
The match featured yet another incredible performance from goalkeeper Joe Bendik. After a quiet first half, Bendik was called upon to make five big saves in the second frame. The Marietta, Ga., native stopped former Lion CJ Sapong’s header in the 66th minute and again dove across the face of the goal one minute later to make an astonishing point-blank save on Chris Pontius’ header. Bendik has played every minute for Orlando City this season.
The match also saw right back Rafael Ramos make his return to the starting XI after suffering a hamstring injury against Montreal on May 21. The Portuguese defender was a force up the right wing and showed good chemistry with Matías Pérez García. Ramos took a sharp-angle shot in the 82nd minute that curled towards the near post, forcing Blake to concede a corner after a flying save.
With the win, Orlando City has now defeated every team in the Eastern Conference in MLS play since joining the league last season.