Orlando City vs DC United | 2018 MLS Match Preview and Prediction

Major League Soccer: Orlando City vs DC United

Orlando City Stadium – Saturday, March 3rd 2018 – 19:30 ET (00:30 GMT)

Orlando City vs DC United: Preview

The opening game of Orlando City’s 2018 MLS season is to be played at home. They welcome fellow Eastern Conference side DC United to Orlando City Stadium as both sides kick off the new season with reason for optimism.

There have been some major changes to the Orlando roster during the offseason. Kaka has retired after his contract ended, which is a huge blow for the Lions. However, they have acted quickly to bring in a quality replacement in the form of Sacha Kljestan.

Orlando are yet to make it to the playoffs since their inception into MLS three years ago. The pressure is on them to make that happen this season. Jason Kreis has revamped his midfield and knows his side need to be more consistent. A home win in their season opener would go a long way to giving his new look side, and the fans, confidence.

DC United are in a similar position to Orlando for the start of the new season. They too have made improvements to their roster in the offseason. These were the bottom two sides in the East last season and will both be eager to show they are going to have a better 2018.

Making the playoffs will be the main aim for DC this campaign. They won’t want to make it two on the bounce where they fail to make the post season competition.

Ben Olsen will be expecting his side to show what they can do in this tie. However, DC have only won once in Orlando and they’re going to need to make a vast improvement on their away form from last season, where they came away with all three points on just three occasions.

Orlando City vs DC United: Team News

Orlando City

❌ Suspensions: Sacha Kljestan (Red Card) – following his red card for his altercation with Jozy Altidore in the Eastern Conference semifinal, Kljestan serves the first of his two match ban.

❓ Doubts: None

🚑 Out: Uri Rosell (fitness), Dillon Powers (ankle), Josue Colman (thigh bruise) and Dom Dwyer (quad strain)

(Take a look at all Orlando City’s key transfer business this winter by clicking the image above)

DC United

❌ Suspensions: Luciano Acosta (Red Card)

❓ Doubts: Darren Mattocks (Calf)

🚑 Out: Russell Canouse (knee sprain) and Taylor Kemp (sports hernia surgery)

(Take a look at all DC United’s key transfer business this winter by clicking the image above)

Orlando City vs DC United: Key Stats

Orlando City’s MLS form: N/A

DC United’s MLS form: N/A

Key stat: Orlando City have won their last three home games against DC United.

Orlando City vs DC United: Prediction

Orlando City 2-1 DC United: An opening weekend win for Orlando looks a likely outcome for this one. Both sides are missing key playmakers through suspension but given DC’s poor away record last season and their inability, so far, to cause Orlando major problems, this is a game may well follow suit.

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2018 Key Transfers: DC United

With the 2018 MLS season drawing ever closer, we will be running through the key additions and losses for all 23 teams over the course of the winter transfer window. There have been a number of key signings and significant trades which should ensure the new season is as exciting as ever before. Today we take a look at DC United’s key transfers and what it could mean for them in the 2018 MLS season…

DC United head into the 2018 season with plenty to improve upon from the previous campaign. Finishing bottom of the Eastern Conference wouldn’t have been something they expected at the start of the season given they made the playoffs the year before that. Now it is time for them to push themselves back to more familiar territory and Ben Olsen’s side has seen some key names depart in a bid to freshen things up. Seven new faces have come in so far, with DC’s business unlikely to end there…

Key Signings

Yamil Asad: The Argentine attacker has joined DC United on loan for the season from Velez Sarsfield for the 2018 season. Asad spent the 2017 campaign on loan at Atlanta United, where he scored seven goals and 13 assists in 32 games. The Five Stripes wanted to make his stay permanent but an agreement could not be reached. DC United have been able to strike a deal though. They will send $500,000 in allocation money to Atlanta for Asad’s MLS rights, as well as $300,000 to Velez Sarsfield, with the option to make the move permanent in December for a further $700,000.

Frederic Brillant: DC have opted to bring in some experience into their back line in the form of Frederic Brillant. The 32 year old made 54 appearances for NYCFC over two seasons, starting the majority of them. With two defensive departures so far Brillant will bolster Ben Olsen’s options and the DC faithful will be hoping he can tighten up a backline that conceded 60 goals in 2017.

Darren Mattocks: The Jamaican forward comes into DC looking to accelerate his MLS career. Having been in the league since 2012, he has netted 24 times in 136 games but now could be the time for him to become a more influential provider. Last season saw him used in a bit-part role at Portland but you could suggest more is expected of him here as he is the only forward DC have signed so far.

David Ousted: This looks set to be the new number one for DC with the departure of Bill Hamid. David Ousted made 142 appearances for Vancouver over five seasons with the club and at 33, the Dane has plenty of experience under his belt. He has been one of the more consistent ‘keepers in MLS over the last few years and a fresh start will do him good.

Oniel Fisher: Another defensive addition for Olsen, Oniel Fisher comes in from Seattle. The 26 year old can play in either of the fullback positions. Having made just 27 appearances in his last three seasons – all with Seattle – now will be the time for him to lock down a permanent starting place. He joins fellow Jamaican Mattocks and has shown his ability to use his pace to provide attacking support from the flanks.

Junior Moreno: A player many might not be overly familiar with is Junior Moreno. The 24-year-old Venezuelan comes in with international experience and could be the midfield option that DC have been missing. A box-to-box/central midfielder who has been noted for making an impact on the game both offensively and defensively. His flexibility to play in two key positions will be a breath of fresh air for Olsen and at just 24 he has the potential to become a long-term success, providing he settles in well. One to watch…

Notable Departures

Bill Hamid: The departing fan favourite and last line of defence, Bill Hamid, is moving on after eight seasons at the club. He made 184 appearances for DC and will go down in the history books for the club, as their first Homegrown Player. He won Goalkeeper of the Year in 2014 and is tipped to be the long term option for USMNT. With all that in mind it comes as a bit of a surprise that he has left but now might be the right time for both parties to try something new. Time will tell with this decision…

Chris Rolfe: The MLS veteran has called it a day at 35 after making 239 appearances across a 13-year career. A sad end for Rolfe but the right decision, having not played since April 2016 due to a concussion, his experience is going to be missed.

Lloyd Sam: The English winger departs DC after two seasons with the club. He played a key part in pushing DC into the playoffs in 2016 despite only playing in 13 games after joining from RBNY. He started 23 of his 30 games in 2017 but at 33, D.C. have decided now is the time to find a longer term replacement.

Patrick Nyarko: Another winger who has been shown the exit door. Patrick Nyarko spent the past two seasons with DC, who have decided not to renew his contact. He departs having scored five goals in 40 appearances and he has been a good provider but perhaps not enough in the opinion of DC having decided to allow him to move on.

Sean Franklin: A regular starter at right back since his inception into MLS in 2008, Sean Franklin is going to be missed by the DC fans. He’s been at the club since 2014 and has been a key feature of the side during those four seasons. His experience will also be a loss for the DC dressing room, highlighted no more so than being part of an LA Galaxy side who won back-to-back MLS Cups in 2011 and 12.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Chicago Fire vs DC United

Competition: Major League Soccer – Chicago Fire vs. DC United

Venue: Toyota Park – Friday, September 16 – 20:00 ET (01:00 BST) 

Match Odds: Chicago 19/20 – Draw 12/5 – DC United 13/5

Match Preview

Chicago Fire welcome DC United to Toyota Park for a key Eastern Conference battle on Friday night, with the two sides still trying to make a late playoff surge with just a few weeks of the regular season left to play.

Chicago know they need to win this game if they are to have any chance of making the top six. They sit bottom of the East on 26 points, seven behind DC in seventh, but they do have a game in hand over Friday’s visitors.

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The Fire have not been able to build any sort of form at all this season. They come into Friday’s game off the back of a 2-1 home defeat to Toronto last time out and have now only won one of their last five home clashes.

However, DC’s away form doesn’t inspire much confidence for United supporters so this is set to be a cagey affair. Ben Olsen’s men have only won once away from home this season and that came back in May.

The Black-and-Red’s 2-2 draw at the Red Bulls last week should leave them in high spirits, with two goals in the final five minutes rescuing a point that looked well out of reach.

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They now need to start winning more regularly to seal a playoff berth. They will only have five games to play following the game in Chicago, all of which come against Eastern opponents.

This will the 55th meeting between Chicago and DC. They played out a 1-1 draw at Toyota Park back in April this season, before DC thumped the Fire 6-2 at RFK Stadium a few weeks ago.

Team News

Chicago Fire are the only MLS club without any injury concerns ahead of this weekend’s game – a remarkable position to be in at this stage of the season. Veljko Paunovic has a full squad to choose from as he tries to give his side some late-season playoff hopes.

DC United will be without Chris Korb, Collin Martin, Chris Rolfe, Alhaji Kamara, Charlie Horton, Jared Jeffrey, Sean Franklin and Kofi Opare, so Ben Olsen really has his options stretched ahead of the trip to the Windy City.

Key Points

Chicago Fire’s last five: W/D/L/W/L

DC United’s last five: D/D/W/L/D

Key Stat: Road struggles – DC United have only won one of their last 19 away games in MLS (D9 L9).

Key Player: David Accam – The Fire attacker is their most threatening player in the final third and can so often change a game in a flash. Chicago may need him to come up with some magic on Friday if they are to come away with three points.

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Score Prediction

Chicago Fire 1-1 DC United – There is so little to choose between these two sides that a draw looks inevitable on Friday night. It’s a result that will do little to help either side, but DC’s away form is a concern for them, while the Fire lack a cutting edge required to win important games such as this one.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Columbus Crew vs DC United

Competition: Major League Soccer – Columbus Crew SC vs. DC United

Venue: Mapfre Stadium – Saturday, July 16 – 19:30 ET (00:30 BST) 

Match Odds: Columbus 5/6 – Draw 5/2 – DC United 16/5

Match Preview

Columbus Crew welcome Eastern Conference rivals DC United to Mapfre Stadium on Saturday night in a tie both sides desperately need to win.

The Crew are in a rough patch of form. They drew their last game 1-1 at home to Toronto on Wednesday and are now winless in six attempts. They have fallen to the bottom of the East and have the worst points tally in Major League Soccer.

Gregg Berhalter’s side trail the top six by five points, they have to start winning games again if they are to close that gap. This is the first of back-to-back home games, so they now have an opportunity to pick themselves up and regain some confidence but it will not be easy, as they have a lot to improve on.

It is a worrying time for the Crew fans who have watched their team fall a long way since December’s MLS Cup Final.

Seattle Sounders vs Columbus Crew

DC United are not in a much better run of form themselves heading into this tie. They were on the receiving end of a 3-0 defeat to Philadelphia last time out and are underperforming.

The pressure isn’t as intense on Ben Olsen as his side trail the top six by just a point, but he will be aware that a loss here would leave DC just one point ahead of Columbus. It is incredibly tight in the East.

DC are winless in two and have just one win in their last five. They have found wins hard to come by in Columbus, the last time they managed to take all three points in this fixture was back in 2007.

United have lost five of the last eight meetings between the sides since 2013. They will feel they have a good chance of picking up a win here but will be hard pushed to do so as, despite their form, Columbus are unbeaten in their last seven home ties.

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Team News

Columbus Crew could be without four players for this tie as Matt Pacifici, Gaston Sauro are Federico Higuain all expected to miss out, while Conor Casey is a doubt.

DC United injury list is up to five players now as Chris Korb, Collin Martin and Chris Rolfe are all expected to miss out. Patrick Nyarko and Miguel Aguilar are both doubts. Kofi Opare is suspended for this tie.

Key Points

Columbus Crew’s last five: D/D/L/L/D

DC United’s last five: L/D/W/D/L

Key Stat: Homesick – DC United have failed to win 14 of their last 15 away matches in Major League Soccer.

Key Player: Ola Kamara – The Columbus forward has been one of the brightest points of what has been a tough season so far. He has netted eight goals in his 12 appearances. The Crew faithful will be willing their man to fire them to victory in this tie.

Ola Kamara Columbus Crew

Score Prediction

Columbus Crew 2-2 DC United – The Eastern Conference sides to play out a score draw. Neither are in particularly good form heading into this tie and are both lacking confidence. A draw will not be a helpful result for either side but it looks set to end that way with so little to choose between the two.

MLS Preview and Prediction: DC United vs FC Dallas

Competition: Major League Soccer – DC United vs. FC Dallas

Venue: RFK Stadium – Saturday, March 26 – 21:30 GMT (17:30 ET)

Match Odds: DC United 13/8 – Draw  23/10 – FC Dallas 17/10

Match Preview

DC United welcome FC Dallas to RFK Stadium on Saturday in a weekend with minimal MLS action due to the international games taking place across the globe.

DC’s struggles up top are ongoing and they have only scored twice in their three outings so far this season. Ben Olsen is going to need to ensure his side are as tight as possible at the back to make sure the goals they are scoring are having an impact in their fixtures.

The Black and Red are yet to win this season and come into this tie off the back of their draw against Colorado last time out.

The boost for DC will be that they have won the last two meetings between these sides at RFK 4-1, so they’ll be hoping history repeats itself once again to give them their much needed first win of the 2016 regular season.

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FC Dallas are sitting 4th in the Western Conference after their solid start to the season. They have won two of their three ties so far but there is still room for improvement.

Oscar Pareja will be delighted with how his side bounced back from their 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Houston Dynamo two weeks ago, after his side won 2-0 over Montreal Impact last time out.

Dallas havent won at RFK since 2010 and will be hoping to capitalise on DC’s slow start to the new campaign this weekend.

The international break has left the Dallas side depleted heading into this tie so it will be real a test of Pareja’s squad depth.

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Team News

DC United have four injury concerns as Bill Hamid, Andrew Dykstra, Chris Korb and Markus Halsti are all expected to miss out. Alvaro Saborio and Steve Birnbaum have both been called up for international duty.

FC Dallas have two injury concerns heading into this tie. Alex Zendejas it out, while Coy Craft is a doubt. Tesho Akindele, Moises Hernandez, Maynor Figueroa, Jesse Gonzalez, Atiba Harris, Kellyn Acosta and Walker Zimmerman are all on international duty.

Key Points

DC United’s form: L/D/D

FC Dallas’ form: W/L/W

Key Stat: Leaky – FC Dallas have conceded at least two goals in their last three away Major League Soccer outings.

Key Player: Fabian Espindola – The DC forward netted his sides late equaliser last weekend.

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Score Prediction

DC United 1-1 FC Dallas – These two are tough to split for different reasons this weekend. DC United have had a difficult start to the 2016 season and Dallas have a lightweight squad due to the amount of players who have been called up for international duty. Both sides will be happy with a tie in this one.

MLS Preview and Prediction: LA Galaxy vs DC United

Competition: Major League Soccer – LA Galaxy vs. DC United

Venue: StubHub Center – Sunday, March 6 – 22:00 ET (03:00 GMT)

Match Odds: LA Galaxy 1/2 – Draw 100/30 – DC United 11/2

Match Preview

LA Galaxy and DC United clash at the StubHub Center on Sunday night as the opening day of the 2016 season sees the two most successful sides in MLS history going head-to-head.

The Galaxy will be desperate to put things right this year after 2015’s fifth placed Western Conference finish was their lowest since 2008.

Their competitive season is already underway as they had their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal with Mexican side Santos Laguna.

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Despite a 0-0 draw at home in the first leg, Bruce Arena saw his side crash out of the competition after a 4-0 defeat in the second leg, but they can now focus all their attention on making sure of a good start to the MLS campaign.

Before their CCL tie, the Galaxy played five preseason fixtures, winning two, losing two and drawing one, including a 1-0 victory over MLS rivals San Jose Earthquakes.

DC United also had a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal to contend with, following a preseason which saw them win just one of five games (D2, L2).

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Ben Olsen’s side suffered a similar fate to their opponents, losing 2-0 away from home in the first leg of their tie with Queretaro, before being held to a 1-1 draw at RFK Stadium, which saw them eliminated on aggregate.

DC’s only win in preseason was a 1-0 win over NASL side Tampa Bay Rowdies, meaning that their preparation for this campaign hasn’t exactly been ideal but now it’s time to step it up in MLS.

The only meeting between these two sides in 2015 saw DC United edge a 1-0 home victory thanks to an injury time goal by Chris Pontius, which marked first time DC had beaten LA in MLS since 2008 after 10 attempts (D5, L5).

Team News

LA Galaxy defender Leonardo (leg), new midfielder Jeff Larentowicz (groin) and striker Alan Gordon (neck) are all injury doubts and will be working hard to try and make the squad. New signings Ashley Cole and Nigel De Jong could make their debuts in MLS.

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DC United will be without goalkeeper Bill Hamid who has a long-term knee injury, while defender Chris Korb is also out with a knee problem. Midfielder Marcelo Sarvas is set to face his old club – he had a two-year spell with the Galaxy between 2012 and 2014.

Key Points

LA Galaxy’s preseason form: W/L/D/W/L

DC United’s preseason form: L/D/W/D/L

Key Stat: DC United have only won two of their last 15 away games in MLS (D3, L10).

Key Player: Robbie Keane – The Irishman was LA Galaxy’s top goalscorer last season with an impressive 20 goals in 24 games. As club captain, he leads by example and his input will be crucial once again. He can make the difference in the blinking of an eye.

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Score Prediction

LA Galaxy 2-1 DC United – The last meeting between these sides at StubHub Center saw the Galaxy win 4-1 in 2014. DC’s last away victory over LA was way back in 2005. This should be a tight game, but LA Galaxy will fancy their chances of continuing their strong record at home to DC United over the last 11 years.

2016 MLS Season Preview: DC United

As the 2016 MLS season edges closer, we’ll be publishing each team’s MLS 2016 Season Preview. Today we take a look at what DC United will be looking to achieve.

DC United were the early Eastern Conference pace-setters last season, suffering only one defeat in their first ten matches. They ended the 2015 campaign in fourth place in the East as a season that began with so much optimism ultimately fizzled away, with playoff elimination coming against the New York Red Bulls for the second-straight season. Too many away defeats played a factor in their fall from the top, with ten defeats on the road a poor return. The heavy 5-0 defeat to Columbus on the last day of the regular season at the MAPFRE Stadium was the lowpoint. Sadly the season will also be remembered for being the last for former DP Eddie Johnson, who had to retire due to a heart problem that ultimately left him on the sidelines for the 2015 season. DC have CONCACAF Champions League commitments to deal with in late February before the MLS season starts, with a two-legged quarter-final against Queretaro coming up. They have suffered a huge setback with the news that goalkeeper Bill Hamid is set to miss 4-6 months with a serious knee injury.

Last Season’s Finish:

Eastern Conference – Position: 4th – P34 – W15 – D6 – L13

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What Needs To Change This Year?

Away form. As mentioned above, the road form last year brings cause for concern this season as three wins on the road just simply wasn’t good enough for a team that needs to be challenging at the top end of the Eastern Conference. This terrible away record was compounded by the fact they only scored nine goals away from RFK Stadium – something they need to seriously address. Their home form remains relatively strong, so there are some positives they can take into next season, but improving the returns on the road would put them in a much better position to challenge for success.

Key Changes To Squad:

Ins: Lamar Neagle – Midfielder, Patrick Nyarko – Midfielder, Marcelo Sarvas – Midfielder, Luciano Acosta (loan) – Midfielder

Out: Eddie Johnson – Striker, Jairo Arrieta – Striker, Michael Farfan – Midfielder, Facundo Coria – Midfielder, Perry Kitchen – Midfielder, Chris Pontius – Midfielder, Conor Doyle – Striker

Key Player:

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Patrick Nyarko – Midfielder – The midfield acquisition from Chicago Fire brings bags of experience and will hope to make an immediate impact with his new team. He recorded three goals and three assists last term and will hope to nail down a starting berth early on in what is a competitive DC United midfield. He will want to impress Ben Olsen and prove his worth to become a mainstay in that midfield and could become a key part of the side.

One To Watch:

Luciano Acosta – Midfielder – The 21-year-old Argentine has arrived on loan for the season from Boca Juniors. He made his debut against the Tampa Bay Rowdies, bagging an assist for Fabian Espindola in a 1-0 victory. Ben Olsen has said: “He’s unpredictable, he’s electric and he is a lot of fun to watch”. DC fans must be filled with glee at what this young man could bring to the RFK in 2016 and he’s definitely one to keep an eye on.

Predicted Finish:

Eastern Conference – 4th – We predict that DC will finish 2016 in exactly the same position as they finished up in 2015. The lack of forward options at Ben Olsen’s disposal is a slight concern as they released three forwards during the offseason. They should still make the playoffs but the absence of Bill Hamid in particular could prevent them from challenging at the very top. A few experienced names have come in, but they are all predominantly midfield options. It should be an exciting season nevertheless and they will hope for a better run in the postseason, should they qualify for the playoffs as expected.

What are you expecting from DC United in 2016?

MLS Playoff Preview and Prediction: New York Red Bulls vs DC United

Competition: MLS Playoffs (Eastern Conference Semifinal Second Leg) – New York Red Bulls vs. DC United

Venue: Red Bull Arena – Sunday, November 8 – 15:00 ET (20:00 GMT)

Match Odds: New York Red Bulls 4/9 – Draw 7/2 – DC United 6/1

Match Preview

New York Red Bulls welcome DC United to Red Bull Arena on Sunday afternoon for the second leg of their MLS Eastern Conference semifinal.

The Red Bulls returned home from DC last weekend with an excellent 1-0 win that puts them firmly in the driving seat in this tie, knowing they’ve scored a crucial away goal.

Dax McCarty’s headed finish following Sacha Kljestan’s floated free-kick in the 72nd minute gave New York the advantage, and Jesse Marsch will be confident his side can see out the job on home soil.

DC United vs New York Red Bulls Dax McCarty

The victory against DC was the perfect way for the Red Bulls to follow on from sealing the Supporters’ Shield title, showing they mean business and that they haven’t lost their focus – it also marked their third consecutive win.

DC United looked tired and slightly bereft of ideas as they struggled to break down a strong Red Bulls team – not even their usually reliable home form could help them salvage anything from the first leg.

Ben Olsen may be tempted to send his players out with orders to attack straight from the off in the hope of creating a realistic chance to progress, although that’s a tactic that could play into the hands of a New York side so dangerous on the counter-attack.

DC United vs New York Red Bulls Sacha Kljestan Perry Kitchen

DC have lost seven of their last ten games, so it may pay for them to try and keep things tight and hope they can pinch a goal. It’s a tough task but if they have any aspirations of winning the MLS Cup, then now is the time to really stand up and be counted.

New York Red Bulls haven’t lost any of the four meetings with DC in 2015 (W3, D1) and the last time they lost at home to DC was in December 2012.

Team News

New York Red Bulls will be without regular centre-back, Damien Perrinelle, for the rest of the season after he suffered a knee injury in the first leg. Ronald Zubar will be expected to deputise in his absence. Defender Chris Duvall (leg) and striker Anatole Abang (hamstring) both remain out.

DC United have doubts over the fitness of midfielders Chris Pontius (hamstring) and Michael Farfan (undisclosed), as well as defender Sean Franklin (achilles). All three could miss this crucial second leg, while Chris Korb (knee), Davy Arnaud (concussion) and Jared Jeffrey (face) remain out.

Key Points

New York Red Bulls’ last five: W/L/W/W/W

DC United’s last five: W/W/L/W/L

Key Stat: New York Red Bulls have scored at least one goal in each of their last 24 games.

Key Player: Mike Grella – He has perhaps been somewhat an unsung hero in 2015. With great performances from the likes of BWP, Lloyd Sam and Sacha Kljestan taking the limelight, it’s also worth noting how crucial Grella has been. He’s scored nine goals and made seven assists this season, making him a vital cog in the Red Bulls machine.

DC United vs New York Red Bulls Mike Grella

Score Prediction

New York Red Bulls 2-1 DC United – You can’t help feeling that New York Red Bulls have one foot in the conference final, although there is still hard work to be done. DC United certainly face an uphill struggle, but they will throw everything they have at this game as there’s nothing to lose. Ultimately though, the Red Bulls should see it through.

MLS Playoff Preview and Prediction: DC United vs New York Red Bulls

Competition: MLS Playoffs (Eastern Conference Semifinal First Leg) – DC United vs. New York Red Bulls

Venue: RFK Stadium – Sunday, November 1 – 15:00 ET (20:00 GMT)

Match Odds: DC United 9/5 – Draw 13/5 – New York Red Bulls 13/10

Match Preview

DC United and New York Red Bulls clash at RFK Stadium on Sunday in the first leg of the MLS Eastern Conference semifinal.

The match-up between these two sides sees a repeat of last season’s tie at this same stage, although DC will play the first-leg at home this time around due to their lower seeding.

DC secured their place in the semifinal by bouncing back from a crushing 5-0 defeat away at Columbus on the last day of the regular season to beat New England Revolution 2-1 in the Eastern Conference knockout round.

Ben Olsen will be delighted with his side’s strong reaction, which secured a third win in four games and keeps alive their hopes of winning an MLS Cup for the first time since 2004.

DC United vs New England Revolution

Revenge will be in the air at RFK Stadium after the Red Bulls knocked DC out of the competition a year ago, with a 3-2 aggregate score over the two legs.

The New York Red Bulls will be refreshed and full of confidence after they’ve enjoyed a week off to relish the fact they’re Supporters’ Shield winners for the second time in three years.

Jesse Marsch has inspired his team to an excellent season but must now ensure the players maintain their focus if they are to sustain a serious challenge at winning the 2015 MLS Cup.

The Red Bulls fell short in 2014 after a conference final defeat, but the platform to go all the way is now in place and they just need to continue their impressive form of 12 wins in their last 17 games (D1, L4).

Photo: Denise McCooey

DC United failed to beat New York Red Bulls in any of the three meetings between the two sides in the regular season (D1, L2), with the most recent clash ending in a 3-0 win for the Red Bulls in August, while the last encounter at RFK Stadium was a 2-2 draw in April.

Team News

DC United will be without Chris Korb (knee), Davy Arnaud (concussion) and Jared Jeffrey (facial fracture) who are all injured. Bobby Boswell will miss the match as a result of a one-game ban issued by the league for an off the ball incident against New England on Thursday.

New York Red Bulls defender Chris Duvall remains out (leg), while Roy Miller (knee) and Anatole Abang (hamstring) are also struggling with injuries.

Key Points

DC United’s last five: L/W/W/L/W

New York Red Bulls’ last five: W/W/L/W/W

Key Stat: New York Red Bulls were the highest goalscorers in the MLS regular season with 62, so they’ll be looking to continue scoring freely and get that all important away goal.

Key Player: Chris Rolfe – An obvious choice, but he is crucial to DC United. He’s their top goalscorer this season, with 11 goals in all competitions. Rolfe also scored a late winner against New England Revolution in the knockout round.

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Score Prediction

DC United 1-1 New York Red Bulls – DC have been strong at home with just 3 defeats all season, so it’s a tough ask for the Red Bulls to win the game. However, they should have enough to get an away goal and secure a draw – a result that would put them in the driving seat for the second leg.

MLS Preview and Prediction: New York Red Bulls vs DC United

Competition: Major League Soccer – New York Red Bulls vs. DC United

Venue: Red Bull Arena – Sunday, August 30 – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST)

Match Odds: NY Red Bulls 8/15 – Draw 100/30 – DC United 9/2

Match Preview

This Sunday evening will see the battle at the top of the Eastern Conference heat up as second place New York Red Bulls host first place DC United in the latest Atlantic Cup rivalry game in what is one of the standout fixtures of Heineken Rivalry Week.

The home side come into this one off the back of their 3-2 loss away at Chicago Fire on Wednesday night. They are sitting five points behind their DC United ahead of this fixture but have three games in hand so this is a great chance for Jesse Marsch’s side to close the gap on their fierce rivals.

The Red Bulls will be confident heading into the game but know it will be a tough task to take all three points. This is the third meeting between the sides this season in MLS and DC are yet to win, with the most recent game ending 2-2 at RFK Stadium in April.

The previous meeting at Red Bull Arena ended with in a 2-0 win for the home side back in March. Marsch and fans alike will be hoping for a repeat of that scoreline so they can move closer to DC at the top of the Eastern and claim back the Atlantic Cup series after last year’s 3-1 aggregate loss.

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DC United come into this one after losing their second consecutive game. Their 2-0 home loss to San Jose Earthquakes is not what Ben Olsen would have expected from his side and there is a danger of the wheels coming off at the worst possible time.

DC have struggled on the road this season, having won just four of their 13 away ties. Olsen will be aware of Red Bulls’ recent home form and knows his players have a tough task on their hands here to take all three points.

Olsen’s side still have a chance of winning the Supporter’s Shield but are up against it now after their previous two defeats.

This is the first of two consecutive away games for DC and they will want to ensure they can take a positive result here so that confidence levels around the squad do not drop any further.

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Team News

New York Red Bulls are expected to be without Chris Duvall. Kemar Lawrence is also a doubt for this one. Ronald Zubar returned on Wednesday and could line up again alongside Matt Miazga. Shaun Wright-Phillips will be hoping for a start after sitting on the bench once again on Wednesday.

DC United have four injury concerns. Eddie Johnson and Chris Korb are out, while Fabian Espindola and Bill Hamid are doubts. Perry Kitchen and Davy Arnaud are both one booking away from suspension.

Key Points

New York Red Bulls’ last five in MLS: W/D/W/W/L

DC United’s last five in MLS: W/W/W/L/L

Key Stat: Solid – Red Bulls have won their last four regular season home games.

Key Player: Bradley Wright-Phillips – The Red Bulls forward has netted 11 goals so far this campaign and has three goals in his last five appearances.

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Score Prediction

New York Red Bulls 2-1 DC United  – This will be a close game which neither side can afford to drop points in. Red Bulls to edge it and claim the Atlantic Cup series.