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D.C. United vs. Orlando City 2016: Game time, TV schedule and live stream for MLS

United’s MLS playoff dress rehearsal is in Florida against a team building towards 2017

D.C. United is playing the most effective soccer in MLS right now. It’s been so long since we’ve been able to say it that it almost feels weird. The Black-and-Red, with a win over Orlando City SC today, would be charging into the playoffs with the only five-game winning streak the league has seen this year. That would also guarantee a knockout round game at home, which given the potential for an unforgiving three games in seven days scenario popping up is absolutely critical.

Orlando has largely been an afterthought in the past few weeks because the MLS playoffs have taken over the discussion around the league. However, since the Lions were trounced at RFK, they’ve quietly put together some respectable performances. They’ve only conceded once in the last three games, a welcome course correction for Jason Kreis after seeing his side cough up four goals in each of the three games before that. And they didn’t do that against MLS’s dregs, either: their last three opponents (Toronto, Montreal, and Philadelphia) are all going to the playoffs.

The Black-and-Red will face a team that is figuring some things out for 2017, and one that will be pushing pretty hard to end on a positive note. On top of wanting to send their loyal fans off with one last win, Orlando is also playing their final game at what used to be called the Citrus Bowl. Sure, OCSC’s history is short, but there’s still some pride involved here, and the signs point to this game being a strong test for United.

Key player: Rob Vincent

There has been a ton of talk about players that helped trigger United’s current four-game winning streak. The improved attacking options have gotten their due, as have improved form at center back and Nick DeLeon’s performances at right back. However, one player that hasn’t gotten much press is Vincent, who spent half a season being looked at as a winger only to become a quietly vital cog in United’s midfield.

In what’s sure to be his eight straight start, Vincent will probably face an unusual challenge. Orlando seems likely to try the empty bucket 442 after getting a win with it in Philadelphia, and that means Kaka and Matias Perez Garcia trying to operate to the left or right of center rather than going out wide to the touchline. That leaves Vincent with some difficult decisions to make defensively, not to mention a potentially crowded area when United regains possession.

Vincent will require help from his central midfield partners as well as the back four, but his play will still be a major factor today. Figuring out when to simply clog passing lanes and when to fire out to make a tackle can be one of the hardest calls in soccer, and the Lions are playing a formation that will make it even trickier. On the other side of the ball, though, if he can swing the ball wide quickly United will have the chance to move through Orlando’s midfield quickly (which suits their approach while exposing a flaw in OCSC’s narrow set-up).

Location: Camping World Stadium (Orlando, FL)

Kickoff time: 4:00pm Eastern

Available TV: ABC 7 (WJLA) and regional affiliates (check the link for the over-the-air alternate channel in your area)

Available streaming: MLS Live for those outside the blackout radius

For listings in other countries, check out

Our gamethread will be posted one hour before kickoff.