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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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.