D.C. United were stunned by a last-gasp Daryl Dike goal as Orlando City won a hard-fought match by a 2-1 margin in Florida. A world-class Julian Gressel strike gave United an early lead, but goals on corner kicks from Robin Jansson and Dike saw Orlando break a five-game winless run.
As is seemingly the case in every United game, they created an early look, with Gressel picking out Junior Moreno’s run from deep in the 6th minute only for the latter’s header to float wide. However, from that goal kick, United won the ball back immediately, and took the lead. Russell Canouse calmly moved wide to Gressel on the right, and from there the German unleashed a bomb of a shot from 23 yards that flew past Pedro Gallese to give United the lead.
Orlando, despite having four losses and a draw in their last five, responded with a good spell of their own, with Steven Birnbaum’s block of a 16th minute Ruan cross nearly becoming an own goal. From the resulting corner, the Lions equalized: Júnior Urso headed the service on frame, forcing a sharp save from Bill Hamid, but Robin Jansson was all alone to thump the rebound into the roof of the net from the doorstep.
Orlando, using some quick and fluid possession, were able to benefit as United — perhaps in a nod to needing to preserve their legs due to the clogged schedule — did not high-press much after taking the lead. Benji Michel saw a shot from the left bobble wide as the half wore on, while United’s most promising counter-attack ended with Yordy Reyna appearing to pick up an injury while striking a pass in the 40th minute. Reyna returned to finish the half, but was substituted during the halftime break.
With United looking to re-assert themselves through their press, play shifted towards Gallese’s goal in the early moments of the second half. Canouse won the ball as Orlando tried to start a 50th minute attack, feeding Kamara. Kamara combined with Arriola and halftime substitute Edison Flores, but Urso arrived at the last moment, disrupting Flores’ pass to Kamara on the doorstep.
United went close again with another substitute, Nigel Robertha, involved, but again Orlando managed to crowd the goalmouth with just enough white shirts that no shot came on a 75th minute sequence. Five minutes later, Robertha had another good look after a wonderful pass from Canouse opened Orlando up, but appeared to catch the turf while striking a shot he put into the stands.
Oscar Pareja made a triple sub pursuing a win, and nearly got the goal he wanted in the 87th minute. Donovan Pines intercepted a pass, but got the ball caught under his feet, and Silvester van der Water was able to keep the attack alive. Daryl Dike couldn’t shoot after drawing Hamid, but Tesho Akindele fired a low shot from an angle that Hamid did well to save. The rebound bounced towards goal, but with Dike lurking, Joseph Mora hacked the ball clear.
The home side piled on late pressure trying to end a five-game winless run, but just when it appeared that United would get a 1-1 draw, Orlando got a disputed winner. Referee Guido Gonzales Jr. allowed two Lions corner kicks to be served in after the full six minutes of stoppage time had been played, and on the second, Dike rose up to expertly glance the ball past Hamid for a 97th minute goal.
The loss sees United (12W-4D-12L, 40 points) fall behind Orlando in the East, and depending on the results around the East this weekend could see them sitting anywhere between 4th and 8th place by the end of Sunday’s fixtures. The Black-and-Red will be off until October 16, when they host Nashville SC in what figures to be a huge game for both clubs.
MLS Regular Season - Game 28
Orlando City SC 2 (Jansson 17, Dike 97+)
D.C. United 1 (Gressel 6)
OCSC (4231): Pedro Gallese; Ruan, Antônio Carlos, Robin Jansson, João Moutinho (Emmanuel Más 46); Júnior Urso (Andrés Perea 81), Sebas Méndez; Benji Michel (Chris Mueller 81), Mauricio Pereyra (Silvester van der Water 71), Nani (C) (Tesho Akindele 81); Daryl Dike
DCU (343): Bill Hamid; Donovan Pines, Steven Birnbaum (C), Tony Alfaro (Joseph Mora 41); Julian Gressel (Chris Odoi-Atsem 82), Russell Canouse, Junior Moreno, Andy Najar; Paul Arriola (Nigel Robertha 62), Ola Kamara (Felipe Martins 82), Yordy Reyna (Edison Flores 46)
DCU - Alfaro 20, Canouse 67, Hamid 95+