The schedule officially gets busy tonight for D.C. United, who will be facing mid-week games nearly every week between now and the end of June. Orlando City SC awaits tonight at RFK, and they will likely want revenge after losing the first-ever meeting between the two sides despite dominating throughout. They'll also be motivated by the standings, as they currently sit outside the East's playoff spots.
For United, the gameplan can't just be "stop Kaka." Orlando troubled the Revs last week thanks in part to some width that wasn't around last month, and rookie striker Cyle Larin has added some athleticism and physicality up top as well. It's going to take a better performance in this meeting to take another three points over the expansion team.
D.C. United Projected Starting 11: Look for a bit of a rotation tonight. I think that'll mean Hamid in goal behind a defense that is 50% unchanged (Sean Franklin, Bobby Boswell) and 50% changed (Steve Birnbaum, Taylor Kemp). I've got a hunch that Ben Olsen is going to give Markus Halsti his first competitive start in central midfield alongside Perry Kitchen, while Nick DeLeon and Michael Farfan man the flanks. Up top, look for Luis Silva and Chris Pontius to step in.
That leaves Chris Rolfe out, which is unfortunate but necessary given how many games the Black-and-Red are facing in the next two months. He'll still come into this game off the bench, however. I also think we'll see Miguel Aguilar sub in for DeLeon after an hour or so. Barring injuries or red cards, look for Jairo Arrieta to be the third sub.
Match previews: Here on planet B&RU, Ben's lineup prediction anticipates the return of Birnbaum just like I did above. Our look at Orlando's likely lineup finds them a bit short-handed at the moment. Our staff unanimously predicts a win tonight, so if things go awry you can blame us for jinxing things. Finally, our preview post hopes for a repeat of Silva's success in Florida. Over at The Washington Post, Steve Goff finds Ben Olsen pondering his many options ahead of a congested couple of months.
Down in Orlando, Paul Tenorio talked up United's climb to consistent success in the Orlando Sentinel, while Andrew Marcinko's preview for The Mane Land thinks the Lions are due a point after the last meeting. In neutral territory, Greg Lalas dedicated an entire MLS Now segment to praising United.
What are you drinking: I didn't have the IPA I talked about before Saturday's game, so I'm looking to set that right.
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