Orlando City SC vs. D.C. United
2017 MLS Match Preview - Week 14
Orlando City Stadium – Orlando, Fla.
Wednesday, May 31 – 7:30 pm ET
WATCH: MLS LIVE
Even though D.C. enter with a victory fresh in the books, their 1-0 defeat of the Vancouver Whitecaps proved, ahh… controversial, and without that contentious penalty kick, they'd be running on four straight matches without a goal. Orlando City, meanwhile, haven't scored in two straight – and notched only a single goal in the game prior.
But for a lone defeat to New York City FC, Orlando are otherwise unblemished at home (5-1-1), often delivering impactful results for the faithful. However, Kaká will sit out a second straight match with a minor right calf injury sustained against NYCFC, meaning Orlando will lean on Cyle Larin and Carlos Rivas to rediscover their missing form.
Orlando City SC
In Week 13 Orlando couldn't deliver a valedictory victory over former head coach Adrian Heath, who's now helming another expansion side in Minnesota United FC. The 1-0 defeat proved a slog for the Lions, who mostly held MNUFC in check before Christian Ramirez snuck in behind the trap to get on the receiving end of Johan Venegas' heady flick.
Defense has been the bugaboo for Orlando, who haven't logged a clean sheet since beating Colorado 2-0 on April 29. But their center-back pairing has stabilized with the return of Jose Aja, while Scott Sutter on the right and the platoon of Donny Toia and PC on the left have provided strong fullback play. If a powerhouse defensive performance is due, it's as likely to come against this D.C. United trickle (10 goals in 12 matches; T-21st) as anyone.
- Suspended: NONE
- Int’l Duty: D - Tommy Redding (US Under-20 national team)
- Injury Report: NONE
Projected Starting XI (4-4-2, diamond right to left): GK: Joe Bendik — Scott Sutter, Jose Aja, Jonathan Spector, Donny Toia — Antonio Nocerino, Will Johnson, Luis Gil, Matias Perez Garcia — Carlos Rivas, Cyle Larin
Notes: In the 335 minutes Kaká has been on the pitch this season, Orlando are averaging 1.6 goals per 90, compared to 0.8 per 90 in 908 minutes without him. However, they are also conceding 2.4 goals per 90 when Kaká is on the field (0.9 when he is off).
Thanks in large part to the woodwork and goalkeeper Bill Hamid standing on his head to ensure victory, the Black-and-Red came away with their first points in four games. And the full result in Vancouver puts them in position to win a third consecutive road match for the first time in nearly three years (most recently: June 11-July 11, 2014).
They'll likely have to come up with more offense in Florida. D.C. have managed a solid road showing of 2-2-1 in 2017, though one would expect tough sledding in Orlando after that stadium's denizens suffered only their first loss in the Lions' most recent home match.
Luciano Acosta hasn't contributed to the scoreline since logging a goal and an assist on April 30, and it's no coincidence the one sustained stretch of success United have rolled up (3-1-1; April 1 to April 30) aligned with a productive run from their diminutive playmaker (3g, 1a).
- Suspended: Jose Guillermo Ortiz (Disciplinary Committee – REPORT)
- Int’l Duty: NONE
- Injury Report: OUT: M - Rob Vincent (deep vein thrombosis); GK - Eric Klenofsky (left knee meniscus surgery), M/D - Nick DeLeon (lower abdominal surgery); D - Sean Franklin (hamstring); QUESTIONABLE: D - Bobby Boswell (groin), M - Lloyd Sam (groin), M - Patrick Nyarko (hamstring)
Projected Starting XI (4-1-4-1, right to left): GK: Bill Hamid – Chris Korb, Steve Birnbaum, Kofi Opare, Taylor Kemp – Jared Jeffrey – Sebastien Le Toux, Ian Harkes, Luciano Acosta, Lamar Neagle – Patrick Mullins
Notes: D.C. United’s 42.8-percent possession average is the worst in MLS. Since the start of the 2010 season, only two MLS teams have finished the season with a lower percentage of possession.
- Overall: Orlando City: 2 wins (7 goals) ... D.C. United: 3 wins (9 goals) ... Ties: 0
- At Orlando: Orlando City: 2 wins (5 goals) ... D.C. United: 1 win (3 goals) ... Ties: 0
- Orlando have won two of the last three meetings vs. D.C. after losing their first two.
- The four goals scored by Orlando in their most recent showdown (a 4-2 victory on Oct. 23, 2016 in Orlando) were more than they had scored in their first four games against D.C. (three goals).
Referee: Allen Chapman
Assistant Referees: Claudiu Badea, Ian Anderson
Fourth Official: Rubiel Vazquez