MLS Preview and Prediction: DC United vs Orlando City

Competition: Major League Soccer – DC United vs. Orlando City SC

Venue: RFK Stadium – Wednesday, May 13th – 20:00 ET (01:00 BST)

Match Odds: DC 23/20 – Draw 9/4 – Orlando 5/2

Match Preview

DC United will look to extend their unbeaten run at home this season when they host Orlando City on Wednesday night in the first of several games before the end of the month.

DC have only lost once this season and are unbeaten in seven now. It speaks volumes of how good this DC side is as they haven’t hit their full potential yet but could go top of the Eastern Conference with at least a draw against Orlando.

Having won the reverse fixture last month with a last minute Luis Silva winner, DC are rightly favourites to record a third win in their last four.

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And the bonus of having Fabian Espindola back in the mix should inject more goals into Ben Olsen’s side, although the front man is a minor doubt for this one as he is carrying a knock and is being monitored day-to-day.

DC United’s 2015 MLS record: P9 – W5 – D3 – L1

Orlando City have struggled with injuries this season and have inadvertently failed to gain any consistency thus far.

Having not registered a win at home this season, perhaps they have a greater chance playing DC away as Orlando have won both of their games away from the Citrus Bowl this term.

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This will be a difficult task for the expansion franchise and much of their fate lies on how well Kaka plays. The Brazilian has not scored in three and needs to rediscover his form quickly.

Orlando City’s 2015 MLS record: P9 – W2 – D3 – L4

Both DC United and Orlando will play again at the weekend and so it will be important to try and pick up some extra points in this midweek clash.

Team News

DC United will be without Eddie Johnson and Collin Martin. Andrew Dykstra, Steve Birnbaum and Markus Halsti are all on their way back from injury and could feature. Fabian Espindola is day-to-day but should be fit in time for kickoff. Ben Olsen may reshuffle his side ahead of a busy period for the club.

Orlando City have several injury concerns as Tally Hall, Pedro Ribeiro, Martin Paterson, Kevin Molino, Lewis Neal and Tony Cascio are all out. Cyle Larin is set to continue as the lone striker after scoring his second of the campaign on Friday night against New England Revolution.

Key Points

DC United’s last five: D/D/W/W/D

Orlando City’s last five: L/W/L/L/D

Key Stat: DC United are undefeated in their last 14 home matches in MLS.

Key Player: Kaka – If Orlando is to make a game of this, Kaka will be the key to their attacking prowess. He always has the potential for brilliance and will look to show it in front of a nationwide audience.

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Score Prediction

DC United 2-1 Orlando City – Expecting an entertaining encounter between two sides looking for a win. DC have looked solid and are unlikely to lose this one, while Orlando’s determination for a win could see them caught out on the counter-attack.

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MLS Preview and Prediction: Orlando City SC vs New England Revolution

Competition: Major League Soccer – Orlando City SC vs. New England Revolution

Venue: Orlando Citrus Bowl – Friday, May 8th – 20:00 ET (01:00 BST)

Match Odds: Orlando 7/5 – Draw 23/10 – New England Revolution 15/8

Match Preview

Orlando City host New England Revolution in the opening fixture of the weekend at the Citrus Bowl on Friday night.

The Lions are still yet to win at home in MLS and this will no doubt be adding pressure on Adrian Heath with every passing home game without a victory. His side have now lost two on the bounce, including last weekend’s home defeat to Toronto, and they are going to have to put that winless run at home to bed sooner rather than later.

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Orlando have only scored six goals this season and worryingly only found the net once at home in four games. They desperately need Kaka to lead the side and if they can get a positive result here it could spur them on their way to better things in their debut campaign.

New England Revolution are really showing their class and have extended their unbeaten run to seven games after last weekend’s 2-1 home victory against the New York Red Bulls. They sit at the top of the Eastern Conference, racking up 17 points from their opening nine games.

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Jay Heaps and his side inflicted the Red Bulls with their first loss of the season and they will not be taking any prisoners in this tie as he will expect nothing less than three points.

Charlie Davies will be hoping he can kick on after last weekend’s strike which was his third of the season. Goals have been easy to come by for the Revs, with five coming from midfield and seven from the forward line already.

Team News

Orlando City will be without Tally Hall, Pedro Ribeiro, Martin Paterson, Lewis Neal and Tony Cascio through injury. Kevin Molino is out for the season after tearing his ACL, though Rafael Ramos will return after serving his ban. Amobi Okugo is one booking away from a suspension and given Heath’s injury woes he will be hoping he can avoid another caution.

New England Revolution have a near fully fit squad and no suspensions to worry about. Darrius Barnes is sidelined while Daigo Kobayashi could be set to miss out again. Andy Dorman is one booking away from a suspension. Heaps will be hoping for a straightforward win here as the confidence continues to build.

Key Points

Orlando City’s last five: D/L/W/L/L

New England Revolution’s last five: W/D/W/W/W

Key Stat: Orlando’s dreadful home start to their inaugural MLS campaign cannot be ignored, scoring just once and yet to notch a win. It is only a matter of time before their fans will be calling for things to change.

Key Player: Charlie Davies – The in-form forward could be in for a game full of chances if the Revs dominate this one.
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Score Prediction

Orlando City 0-2 New England Revolution – The Revs should come away with all three points but nothing can be ruled out as we have seen on so many occasions already this season. Orlando have struggled to produce at home and a game against the league leader’s will be a real test.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Portland Timbers vs Orlando City

Competition: Major League Soccer – Portland Timbers vs. Orlando City

Venue: Providence Park – Sunday, April 12th – 17:00 BST (22:00 BST – Live on Sky Sports 5)

Match Odds: Portland 3/4 – Draw 13/5 – Orlando 18/5

Match Preview

Portland Timbers host Orlando City on Sunday night at Providence Park in an intriguing clash between two sides that will feel they deserve more points than they currently have as both have performed well up to this point.

The Timbers come into the game off the back of an impressive 3-1 win over FC Dallas last weekend, whereas Orlando were left heartbroken after an injury time winner saw them fall at home to DC United last time out.

Portland will be the favorites for this one after they recorded their first win at home last weekend and have only lost one of their opening five.

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They will have to keep Kaka quiet however, if they are to win all three points and the Brazilian playmaker will need to put in a similar display to that which he performed in Montreal in the Lions’ last road game.

Orlando haven’t had the best results so far this season, but they have had some very strong performances. They were unfortunate against DC last week and have showed that they are not afraid to attack sides.

The problem comes with their inability to finish chances, and with the creative abilities of Kaka there has to be a leading man to finish these chances on a regular basis.

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Adrian Heath has juggled with his striking options thus far, and we are likely to see rookie Cyle Larin start up front in Portland on Sunday night.

Team News

Portland will be without Will Johnson (leg break), Diego Valeri (ACL), Ben Zemanski (ACL) and Michael Nanchoff (hernia) as all miss out through injury. Jack Jewsbury could return in midfield having come off the bench against Dallas last week.

Orlando could be without six men as Tally Hall (ACL) and Pedro Ribeiro (hamstring) will both miss out, while Martin Paterson (groin), Christina Higuita (groin), Louis Neil (neck) and Tony Cascio (sore back) are all doubts. Cyle Larin is expected to start up front in place of Ribeiro with Kaka in behind.

Key Points

Portland Timbers’ form: D/D/D/L/W

Orlando City’s form: D/W/L/D/L

Key Stat: Portland are undefeated in their last seven MLS home games.

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Key Player: Fanendo Adi – Portland’s lethal striker has started the season with a bang, and will cause Orlando problems all game.

Score Prediction

Portland Timbers 3-1 Orlando City – The Lions have started well but cannot take their chances and that could cost them again on Sunday against a Timbers side that will want to record back-to-back victories. Portland look strong in attack and Orlando could struggle to contain their opponents in this one.

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.

MLS 2015 Season Preview: Orlando City SC

As the 2015 season draws closer, we’ll have a new MLS 2015 Season Preview up everyday. Today we take a look at what Orlando City SC will be hoping to achieve in their first-ever season…

The arrival of Orlando City SC into Major League Soccer is fast approaching and we are excited to see what they have to offer. Expectations to perform will be high, but with Kaka leading the team they stand a strong chance of finishing at the top end of the Eastern Conference in their inaugural season. As it is their first ever campaign people will question how much they can achieve, but their introduction to MLS is exciting and we are looking forward to seeing how it all unfolds.

Last season’s finish: N/A (Inaugural Season)

Orlando City players huddle up in preseason action (Photo: http://www.orlandocitysc.com/)

Orlando City players huddle up in preseason action (Photo: http://www.orlandocitysc.com/)

What to expect this year:

Seeing as it is their initial season we obviously cannot compare previous campaigns, but with the players they have bought in there are high expectations. With big signings Orlando have to reach the playoffs and much comparison will be made between them and fellow expansion franchise, New York City FC. With Kaka at the heart of the midfield we can expect classy counter-attacking play led by a calm experienced head. Aurelien Collin will play a major part into how they perform defensively and his MLS experience is vital. Bryan Rochez has been brought in as a Designated Player up top and he will be expected to score the goals that fire Orlando to success this year.

Key changes to the squad:

As it is their first season the squad building at Orlando was vast. Their key additions are:

Ins: Kaka – Midfielder (Designated Player), Bryan Rochez – Forward (Designated Player), Aurelien Collin – Defender, Brek Shea – Midfielder, Donovan Ricketts – Goalkeeper, Amobi Okugo – Defender

Outs: N/A 

Key player: Kaka – Midfielder

Kaka Orlando City SC

There isn’t much to say about former Ballon d’Or winner that already hasn’t been said. He will play a pivotal role in Orlando’s first season and his experience in the squad is unparalleled. Playing at the top level and wrapping up European honours such as the Champions League, La Liga and Serie A mean he is the star. The 2002 World Cup winner will take the pressure for the Lions’ performances on the field and will improve the players around him. The rest of the Orlando squad can learn so much from Kaka and the number 10 will need to be at his brilliant best to set examples and keep his side composed. The 32 year old is a natural finisher and will show why he is regarded so highly by driving the side on with his midfield surges and range of passing. Kaka has always been a pleasure to watch and don’t expect that to change in MLS.

One to watch: Bryan Rochez – Forward

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The Honduran forward has an impressive goals-to-games ratio for former club Real Espana with 30 in 62 and he could be a dark horse for the Golden Boot this season. He has showed in glimpses what he is about in Orlando’s preseason campaign and will need to prove he is worthy of the DP tag Orlando have given him. The 20-year-old striker will enjoy working with Kaka and the service he should receive gives him a good chance of continuing his impressive scoring record.

Predicted finish: Eastern Conference – 2nd

Orlando should have a strong first season and we are expecting big things from them. With the squad they have we can expect them to put up a good challenge against everyone they face. The team is strong throughout with experienced defenders, and creative midfielders and Adrian Heath has one of Major League Soccer’s strongest team’s on paper. With Kaka at the heart of it all we are just counting down the days until kick off now.

How will Orlando do in their first-ever MLS season?