D.C. United go to Florida tomorrow night for their first date with Kaka, Mickey, and Goofy. We have our predictions, but let us know what you think will happen in the comments!
Until D.C. United reach full health and fitness, strong defensive and goalkeeping performances are going to have to be the way to go. Obviously Kaka is the danger man for Orlando, so much responsibility for containing him will fall on Perry Kitchen, as well as Kofi Opare and Bobby Boswell. Orlando likes to shoot from distance (60% of their shots come from outside the area), but they're the 4th most inaccurate team in MLS (25.6% of their shots are on target), which is a combination of numbers that I can live with. I really want to see more of Chris Rolfe paired with Jairo Arrieta, with Chris Pontius on the wing, as I think the attack has looked much better with Rolfe and Arrieta together than with Pontius and Arrieta. Alas, I think it's unlikely that we'll see it. In any case, I'm down with another prosaic 1-0 victory, and #freeMiguelAguilar.
It's United's first trip to the land of Mickey Mouse and Harry Potter World, and they will face an Orlando team that will be back at full strength after the return of several players from international duty. Our attack will have to come out firing, and the defense will really have to be clicking against Orlando's attack. Rolfe sets up Arrieta for a finish, DeLeon finishes off another, and the pairing of Opare and Boswell helps United escape from the World of Disney with a 2-1 victory.
Two words: LEWIS NEAL! There will be a great gnashing of teeth when LEWIS NEAL! nails a ball bouncing mid-air between Opare and Boswell right past Hamid. LEWIS NEAL! Also, the turf is no fun for the Black and Red. It's the krypton to all the magic headbands. DC falls to OC, 0-1.
There's no way around it: United has been really bad on the road thus far in 2015. On the turf at the Citrus Bowl, with temperatures at or near 80, the Black-and-Red are in for another tough assignment. I do expect an improvement thanks to the psychological bump that comes from a 93rd minute game-winner over LA, but I see another team that plays 4231 and I'm worried. The Lions don't have the midfield mobility that the Metros do, but then the Metros don't have anyone nearly as good as Kaka. I do think we'll see an improvement in terms of DCU's road performance, but I'm not feeling good about this one. 2-1 Orlando, with *POTM snub!!!* DeLeon scoring United's goal.
Compared to last week, I think Orlando is still figuring out their backline and D.C. will get one from DeLeon but like Jason, I don't see how they are going to magically cease their road form with this one. 2-1 Orlando, and D.C. extends their winless road streak to 5 across all competitions.
United are really going to have to step up to get a result right now in Orlando. I'm pleased to have Kemp back to add to the attack, and it helps that DeLeon is coming off a strong performance, and Pontius off a goal. If the defense stays solid, and Kitchen and Arnaud do their parts, I think we could get out of Florida with a point. I'll go 1-1, with DeLeon netting the goal this time. Additional prediction: I tweet plenty about how I miss LEWIS NEAL.
D.C. United travel to the land of Mickey Mouse, and they get to play on a turf field for the first time this MLS season. On the road and on turf has not been a good combination for United, but we are in April now. Give me a 2-1 win for United, with Jairo Arrieta and Chris Pontius scoring for United, and some guy named Kaka scoring for Orlando City.