D.C. United and Orlando City SC both head into tonight’s match fresh off wins on the road and looking to extend their win streaks.
The Black-and-Red took all three points when they paid a visit to former head coach Hernán Losada’s new team, CF Montréal, last weekend. Newcomer Lewis O’Brien notched the game-winner in the 46′ taking D.C. to a 1-0 victory.
The Lions found themselves pitted against the Loons in Match Week 8. Orlando claimed the win and three points on the road when Duncan McGuire scored the deciding goal – the first of his Orlando City career – for a 2-1 win over Minnesota.
While D.C. has been pragmatic in play, to be most effective, they need to start using the ball to open up space to create chances for their attackers. When trying to build from the back, the Black-and-Red have struggled with turnovers, defense, and transitions. Head coach Wayne Rooney has been working to implement this system for about a year now in the District, and the pressure is on the Black-and-Red to perform and move up the table.
Tonight it will be all about capitalizing on chances for D.C. United. Wayne Rooney said, “I think the previous game against Orlando, I thought we were very good, in control of the game well, and ultimately we didn’t take our chances which cost us winning the game. I think if we perform the way we did in the previous game, and I think we’ll be okay.”
Check out D.C.’s last visit to Orlando:
Key Player: Lewis O’Brien
O’Brien has shown himself to be an incredibly effective player, able to make a near-immediate impact for the Black-and-Red. His go-ahead-goal against Montréal snagged three points for D.C. and restored a measure of confidence heading into this week’s match against Orlando. Rooney said to the media this week, “I think he’s come in, and he’s been great for us. I think his energy, both on and off the pitch, is infectious. I think he’s very a very down-to-earth young man who wants to learn, wants to improve, wants to get better, and very quick to take information in which you give him.”
Watch Out For: Duncan McGuire
McGuire is considered to be Orlando’s most effective number nine this year as the team struggles to identify their striker of choice. He scored the equalizer during Orlando and D.C.’s last meet-up at Audi Field and the game-winner against Minnesota last week. McGuire is able to occupy center backs off the ball and use his physicality to Orlando’s advantage on the pitch.
Challenges: The Black-and-Red head into their second road match in a row and will have to work hard to keep up the momentum away from home.
Previously: The last meeting between D.C. United and Orlando City SC ended in a 1-1 draw at Audi Field despite a strong performance from the Black-and-Red.
Orlando City Availability:
Out: Michael Halliday (right thigh)
D.C. United Availability:
Out: Brendan Hines-Ike (foot), Martin Rodriguez (knee), Nigel Robertha (ankle), Derrick Williams (thigh), Mohanad Jeahze (thigh)
Location: Exploria Stadium, Orlando, FL
Kickoff time: 7:30 pm ET
Referee: Lukasz Szpala
Available streaming: MLS Season Pass on Apple TV
Featured image courtesy of D.C. United and Hannah Wagner