Fun fact, guys: D.C. United are the only team in MLS right now with zero goals against. I mean, yeah, they’ve only played three games. But still!
Meanwhile, Orlando City have played four games and recorded one win—last weekend at Red Bull Arena. They’re back home today while, of course, DCU are on the road, but Orlando’s performances at home so far haven’t been terribly inspiring.
So is it a recipe for a Black-and-Red win? Or will Orlando emerge victorious?
Donald Wine II
The Black-and-Red is back, and they’re on the road in Orlando. After two weeks off, I have a feeling that the team gets right back to business. We get goals from Wayne Rooney and Paul Arriola, with Luciano Acosta setting up both. We get yet another clean sheet from Bill Hamid, and yessir...2-0 victory and the rest of the league going “Uh oh, this team may be for real.”
I think Jason may have made an observation like this in this week’s Filibuster but to boil it down a little, Orlando beat a Red Bulls team that was missing a bunch of people, and rarely looked head and shoulders above them. Their defense remains suspect and D.C., in the mugginess of Florida Sunday, will be at home against LAFC on national television. This is a game that screams TRAP, and while it would be nice to walk out with all three points, I think a crazy 2-2 affair (with Rooney and Acosta cancelling out Nani and Sacha Kljestan) is about all I have at this point because this team hasn’t been in this position before so this should be interesting.
The two-week layoff will do the team a little bit of good as it heads into a stretch of four games in 14 days, even if that rest came after just three matches. They’re fully capable of beating Orlando at home, especially considering that Orlando has conceded five goals in their two home matches, and had to come from 2-0 down to earn their lone home point. I don’t see D.C. putting on a dazzling attacking display, but I expect them to keep out an Orlando team whose 7.5 shots per game is dead last in the league. A second half goal from Wayne Rooney will be enough for a 1-0 DCU win.
Something I’ve been meaning to bring up on Filibuster: a small bet Steven Streff and I have going. It started when Streff said in the last prediction post that there’s no way United could keep its scoreless streak going through the whole season. My response was, “Not with that attitude!” To which Streff offered to swim the length of the Anacostia River if the Black-and-Red keep the clean sheet through the MLS season.
Beyond it being an amazing turn for the team, this would be extra awesome and we should obviously all root for it.
As for Sunday, I think I’m with Rick. This will be a win for Los Capitalinos, but more of an easing away than an RSL-style blowout. I think Rooney and Rodriguez combine to set up Lucho Acosta for the opener midway through the first half. United’s #10 then plays provider just after the hour mark, setting up Paul Arriola for an easy finish. 2-0 good guys, and Streff is one game closer to a swim.
Orlando won at Red Bull Arena last week, which is a major achievement, but they also caught the Red Bulls at their least interested. Alarmingly for them, the problem of defenders being unable to avoid terrible giveaways passing to the midfield remained in place, and that’s where I think United is going to make most of their noise here. Expect a choppy first half featuring few chances either way (Orlando got that win last week in part by destroying the game, and I think they’re going to stick with that approach again), before Lucas Rodriguez pounces on a bad pass around the hour mark to tee Wayne Rooney up for a simple finish. United makes it 2-0 around the 70th minute on a Frederic Brillant header from a set piece. The shutout streak ends very late, with Sacha Kljestan getting a scrappy goal amid chaos in the box, but D.C. locks it down from there, winning 2-1.
This team isn’t ready to start losing yet. And this is a winnable game, for sure—DCU are a more exciting team than Orlando right now (Nani who?). And the clean sheet streak? Yeah, they’re continuing it. There will be some nervy bits, but ultimately goals from Rooney and Arriola guide the visitors to 2-0 win.
What do you think will happen tonight? Share your prediction in the comments, and don’t forget to stop by the silly poll first.
How much do you care about the cherry blossoms?
This poll is closed
I like them! A D.C. staple.
I love them and go see them every year
I love them and I will fight people to get the best photo