MLS Preview and Prediction: Orlando City vs DC United

Competition: Major League Soccer – Orlando City vs DC United

Venue: Citrus Bowl – Friday, April 3 – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST – Saturday, April 4)

Match Odds: Orlando City 5/4 – Draw 23/10 – DC United 11/5

Match Preview

Orlando City host DC United on Friday night in their third MLS home game of the season in what they will be hoping will be their first win at the Citrus Bowl.

Orlando have definitely made their mark on MLS so far this season and most notably their star signing Kaka has stolen all of the headlines.

With only one point separating the two sides, this is a chance for Orlando to set the tone for their season as Brek Shea and Rafael Ramos return to the side after being away on international duty.

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With Kaka being a doubt, there is a chance he may not play and it will be interesting to see if Adrian Heath’s side can cope without their talisman.

Orlando City’s record in MLS 2015: P4 – W1 – D2 – L1

DC United have had an indifferent start to 2015 having managed to win both home games and lose the one away game.

It seems that this DC side is suffering with the suspension of Fabian Espindola who was instrumental in their 2014 campaign that saw them win the Eastern Conference.

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They are seemingly lacking a creative spark in the final third but are still managing to grind out results. And with only a few weeks left on the Espindola ban, you can’t help but feel that DC will be a force once again this season.

DC United’s record in MLS 2015: P3 – W2 – D0 – L1

Team News

Orlando City’s Tally Hall and Martin Paterson remain sidelined. Christian Higuita, Carlos Rivas, Lewis Neal, Tony Cascio and Kaka are all doubts for this one but are expected to be pushing to start if they can. Brek Shea and Rafeal Ramos are expected to start after returning from international duty.

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DC United’s Fabian Espindola is still serving his six-game ban. Eddie Johnson and Markus Halsti remain out, while Steve Birnbaum suffered a sprained ankle against LA Galaxy and will miss the next 4-6 weeks, so Kofi Opare is expected to come in. Luis Silva remains doubtful, while Chris Pontius and Jairo Arrieta are set to continue up front.

Key Points

Orlando City’s form: D/W/L/D

DC United’s form: W/L/W

Key Stat: Orlando City are yet to win at home in MLS.

Key Player: Kevin Molino – The midfielder is back from international duty with Trinidad and Tobago and should be as threatening as ever. His pace could prove the difference in this clash.

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Score Prediction

Orlando City 1–1 DC United – DC United haven’t won on the road this season, while Orlando are yet to win at home, so everything is pointing towards a draw, although we can expect a couple of goals.

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Predicted Orlando City starting XI if the league began today

Orlando City SC now have the core of their squad together ahead of their first ever season as a Major League Soccer franchise after the MLS Expansion Draft helped them to add numbers.

The Lions now have 20 players to choose from and although more will be added before they kick off in March, we now have a good idea about what the team will look like.

Don’t miss: Predicted New York City starting XI if the league began today

With the current roster, it is likely that head coach Adrian Heath would play a 4-2-3-1 formation to accommodate the high number of midfielders in the squad.

Goalkeeper: Donovan Ricketts

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The Jamaican shot-stopper was selected with the first overall pick of the Expansion Draft and will start the season in goal for Orlando. Tally Hall will battle for a starting job when he returns from injury but Ricketts has the job nailed down for now. He played 32 times for the Portland Timbers last year and is a solid goalkeeper.

Right-back: Tyler Turner

18-year-old right-back Tyler Turner could be set to start the season for Orlando as the club don’t have a more experienced player to fill in on the right side of defence. Turner likes to attack down the flanks and that could be something Heath wants to see from his team. Will be good to see a young player like Turner given a chance.

Centre-back: Aurelien Collin

Aurelien Collin is a vastly experienced central defender and a great signing for Orlando City. He has spent the last four seasons with Sporting Kansas City and brings a wealth of crucial experience to the backline. Collin played 26 times last season and will expect to see more game time than that in 2015.

Centre-back: Heath Pearce

Heath Pearce is another experienced MLS defender. The 2015 season will be his eighth in the league and he will look to form a solid partnership with Collin at the heart of the Orlando defence. Pearce played 23 games for Montreal last season.

Left-back: Luke Boden

English left-back Luke Boden will likely start the season as the teams left-back. He has been with Orlando City since 2011 and made the USL Pro Team of the Season in 2014. The Lions have been linked with Ashley Cole but that move is unlikely at this point and Boden will hope to prove his worth if given a starting job.

Defensive-midfield: Amobi Okugo

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Amobi Okugo was acquired in a trade with the Philadelphia Union and he will look forward to being a regular in the Orlando lineup next season. At just 23, he has a bright future ahead of him. He has played 32 times in the past two seasons for the Union and will look to replicate that in 2015.

Defensive-midfield: Estrella

Estrella is just 19-years-old but he has the chance to become an integral part of a youthful looking squad with the Lions. He joined Orlando City last July and scored one goal in five games in their USL Pro campaign. Could be one to shine.

Right-midfield: Kevin Molino

Kevin Molino has been with Orlando City since 2011 and has made over 80 appearances for the club in that time. He has plenty of experience and will be looking forward to playing in Major League Soccer. At just 24, he has time to develop as a player and has the perfect platform to do so.

Left-midfield: Tony Cascio

It’s difficult to assess exactly who will start on the left side of midfield for Orlando City but at this stage, Tony Cascio looks the most likely option. The 24-year-old was selected with Orlando’s second pick in the Expansion Draft and will hope to nail down a regular berth in the team after only appearing six times for the Houston Dynamo last term.

Attacking-midfield: Kaka

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The star. Kaka will need to be the key man in this team every time he steps onto the field. The Brazilian playmaker is set to experience Major League Soccer for the first time and will hope to hit the ground running with so much expected of the first, and only current designated player signing.

Forward: Jairo Arrieta

Unless a star striker is signed, Jairo Arrieta is expected to be the man to score the goals in the Orlando team. He was selected in the sixth round of the Expansion Draft after netting five times in 23 appearances for the Columbus Crew in 2014.