LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL – Orlando City SC took first place over the Philadelphia Union with a 1-1 draw last night in the MLS is Back Tournament at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex at Disney.
Ilsinho came on in the match in the 59th minute and wasted little time before scoring the first goal. Alejandro Bedoya flicked a pass to Ilsinho on the right side of the penalty area, and Ilsinho slid his shot inside the right post past diving Orlando City goalkeeper Pedro Gallese.
Orlando tied the game with a quick reply. Mauricio Pereyra put in a header off a centering pass from Nani that went inside the left post just out of the reach of diving Union goalkeeper Andre Blake.
Orlando’s Head Coach Oscar Pareja was pleased with the win and his team’s growth.
“First of all, let me congratulate this group of players.” Said Pareja. “They had a great effort today to bounce back and they even deserved to win it. They decided from the first minute to be protagonists of the game and I think they did that. We had another experience where we were down in the score and we bounced back quickly and that just tells us that the team has personality and desire and that made us feel very confident.”
“They played against a very good team also, [Philadelphia are] well-coached and very dynamic in the middle, but at the end we’re content. We were the protagonists of the game and we wanted it all of the way and could have deserved more, but we’ll take the point. To qualify as the first of the group is something to be proud of.””
Orlando needed only to win or draw to win the group. Philadelphia needed to win for the top spot.
Philadelphia and Orlando City each went 2-0-1 in group play. They both defeated New York City FC and expansion Inter Miami. Orlando City earned the top spot because of a superior goal differential, plus-3 to plus-2 for the Union.
Orlando City will play its Round of 16 match Saturday against an opponent to be determined, which will be a third place team from Group C, D or E. The Union also will play Saturday against the second-place team from Group C.