Thrashed 4-0 at New England Revolution last time out, the Lions’ coaching staff and players really need to do some soul searching with the performance nowhere near required standard.
On the night at Gillette Stadium, Orlando City SC truly looked like a beaten team who believed they had no chance of qualifying for the 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs.
While that is the gloomy reality of affairs right now, Orlando City SC supporters are right to demand far more courageous performances with players and staff needing to prove that they want to be here in 2018.
As for the hosts D.C. United, the Black and Red have propped up the Eastern Conference for a while but Ben Olsen’s have picked up some late season form.
Coming into this fixture after a run of three consecutive 0-1 / 1-0 victories, D.C. United’s defence is much improved recently after struggling for the most part this term.
Having also made an eye-catching club record swoop for United States international Paul Arriola last month, D.C. United are at least showing some pride and fight despite playing with no hope of progressing beyond the regular season.
Now travelling to the capital with a lot to prove, both to us Orlando City SC supporters as well as themselves, we hope to see a much better performance.
2015/17 head-to-head stats
D.C. United are actually one of the two Major League Soccer franchises that Orlando City SC have managed to beat in an awful four-month run.
Our first victory in seven games at that point, this win sadly didn’t prove to be a turning point in our season however with a 0-1 win Real Salt Lake our only victory thereafter.
We are yet to witness a draw in this game series between D.C. United and Orlando City SC.
Sharing three victories each so far in MLS, we witnessed some crazy high scoring games near the end of last season.
Facing a must-win game at RFK Stadium last September, Jason Kreis‘ men were thrashed 4-1 courtesy of a Patrick Mullins brace and strikes from Lloyd Sam and Julian Büscher.
Providing mere consolation, a fine free-kick from Júlio Baptista was the only positive in a forgettable night in the District of Columbia.
D.C. United 4 Orlando City SC 1 – Highlights – September 24, 2016 (Credit: Major League Soccer)
Facing D.C. just four weeks later in our final game at Camping World Stadium, Orlando City SC saw off the venue in style with Kevin Molino, Kaká, Cristian Higuita and Júlio Baptista goals sealing a 4-2 victory.
Having played in FIVE of SIX MLS head-to-heads with D.C. United, Kaká enjoys facing the Black and Red.
Scoring in June 2015’s 1-0 win over Ben Olsen’s men as well as during our final fixture of last season, Kaká needs to step up in this match-up.
With our Brazilian captain’s performances having dipped too, the 35-year-old was often spotted way to deep against New England Revolution last time out.
While we know he likes to drop deep to dictate play, Kaká was no threat to the Revs defence with the veteran often back on the half-way line.
Orlando City SC 4 D.C. United 2 – Highlights – October 23, 2016 (Credit: Major League Soccer)
D.C. United form
Dig into the stats and you’ll see that D.C. United games haven’t been producing many goals recently.
Indeed, there have been UNDER 2.5 GOALS scored in D.C.’s last FIVE MLS fixtures.
Shipping loads of goals earlier in the season, that hasn’t been the case recently with the likes of Steve Birnbaum, Kofi Opare and Jalen Robinson displaying improved performances in the backline.
D.C. United won’t be concerned about their games featuring UNDER 2.5 GOALS recently.
After all, Ben Olsen’s side have managed to win ALL of their last THREE consecutive Major League Soccer fixtures by 0-1 / 1-0 scorelines.
Picking up good late season form with the pressure now off, D.C. United have recently seen off Colorado Rapids (away), Atlanta United (home) and New England Revolution (home), all by a one-goal margin.
D.C. United 1 New England Revolution 0 – Highlights – August 26, 2017 (Credit: D.C. United)
With D.C. United now keeping clean sheets, this has been the reason why the Black and Red have closed the gap on Orlando City SC.
With only THREE points separating tenth-placed Orlando City SC and bottom-placed D.C. following Gameweek 26, the Lions should seek motivation from trying to avoid finishing bottom in the East.
Orlando City SC form
Orlando City SC haven’t looked like winning at home recently, let alone on the road.
Winless in our last THREE away fixtures in MLS, a resurgent D.C. United side will be the favourites in this encounter.
Just like the game against New England Revolution last Saturday, this game will be about who has the most inner pride, passion and determination with qualification for the 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs out of the question.