LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Mauricio Pereyra’s goal midway through the second half gave Orlando City a 1-1 draw with the Philadelphia Union on Monday night and the top spot out of Group A in the MLS is Back tournament.
Orlando and Philadelphia each finished with two wins and a draw in the group stage. A better goal differential gave Orlando City took the top spot in the knockout round.
Orlando City (2-1-2) will play a third-place finisher from group play in the round of 16 on Saturday. Philadelphia (2-1-2) will play the second-place team out of Group C, also on Saturday.
Ilsinho put Philadelphia ahead a few minutes after coming on as a substitute. His third career goal against Orlando City came after a long stretch where Orlando dominated scoring chances. Ilsinho’s right-footed shot beat Pedro Gallese to the far post.
Orlando responded almost immediately. Portuguese winger Nani curled a cross into the penalty area and Pereyra’s run was timed perfectly for his header to beat Philadelphia goalkeeper Andre Blake’s diving attempt.
It was the fourth straight meeting between the sides that finished in a draw.
Before Pereyra’s goal, Blake was the reason the Union were even in the match. Blake made six saves, including a stop from close range on Tesho Akindele in the first half. He denied Sebastian Mendez and Chris Mueller on the same play early in the second half.
Blake’s best save came just before Philadelphia took the lead when he tipped a header from Antônio Carlos off the crossbar.
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