This is your open thread for Orlando City's Friday evening showdown against defending Eastern Conference champions D.C. United. The Lions are sitting pretty in fourth place in the East at the moment, though they've failed to earn a victory on their home turf so far this season.
D.C. United (2-1-0, 6 pts.) have had some up and down performances so far, but they've managed two wins in three matches to put them a point ahead of Orlando City (1-1-2, 5 pts.) with a game in hand. The story of the season for the Black and Red has been the resurgence of oft-injured veteran Chris Pontius, as well as the play of Jairo Arrieta at striker, who's filling in for a suspended Fabian Espindola.
For Orlando City, tonight will see the return of a number of players who missed last weeks' match against Montreal due to international duty. Kevin Molino and Rafael Ramos should be back in the starting lineup, while Brek Shea, Darwin Ceren, and Cyle Larin may all be available. Look for Carlos Rivas to make an appearance at some point as well, as reports out of training have him finally close to full fitness.
The Lions have some momentum after earning a draw on the road while missing six starters last week, however D.C. is likely the best MLS team Orlando has faced so far. The injury to defender Steve Birnbaum is a major blow for United, but I would fully expect them to enter tonight's match gunning for a victory against an expansion Orlando side.
Here's your required reading for tonight's match:
- Here's our thorough match preview
- Editor Michael Citro put together a D.C. United scouting report
- Here are three keys to victory for Orlando City
Finally, don't forget to listen to this week's PawedCast featuring Black and Red United's Jason Anderson.
Orlando City (4-2-3-1):
Goalkeeper: Donovan Ricketts
Defense: Brek Shea, Seb Hines, Aurelien Collin, Rafael Ramos
Defensive Midfielders: Darwin Ceren, Amobi Okugo,
Attacking Midfielders: Eric Avila, Kaká (C), Kevin Molino
Forward: Pedro Ribeiro
Bench: Carlos Rivas, Bryan Rochez, Luke Boden, Sean St. Ledger, Earl Edwards Jr., Cyle Larin, Harrison Heath
D.C. United (4-4-2):
Goalkeeper: Bill Hamid
Defense: Taylor Kemp, Kofi Opare, Bobby Boswell, Sean Franklin
Midfield: Chris Rolfe, Perry Kitchen, Davy Arnaud, Nick DeLeon
Forward: Chris Pontius, Jairo Arrieta
Bench: Andrew Dykstra, Chris Korb, Miguel Aguilar, Michael Farfan, Jared Jeffrey, Luis Silva, Conor Doyle
How to Watch:
Match time: 7 p.m. (ET)
Venue: Citrus Bowl, Orlando, FL
TV: UniMas (Instructions for English commentary HERE), UDN
Radio: 104.1 FM Real Radio (English), La Grande 1030 AM (Spanish)
Streaming: MLS Live (out of market), UnivisionDeportes.com.
Twitter: For rapid reaction and live updates, follow along at @TheManeLand, as well as Orlando City's official Twitter feed (@OrlandoCitySC).
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