Welcome to your live thread for tonight's third and final regular season match between Orlando City and D.C. United. The Lions are 0-2 against the defending Eastern Conference regular season champions during this inaugural MLS campaign, but a strong argument could be made that they were the better side both times. Still, the depth and experience of United have allowed D.C. to grind out two one-goal victories.
Orlando City enters on a four-game unbeaten streak (2-0-2) after last weekend's wild comeback win over the Chicago Fire. A revenge win over D.C. would certainly help the cause, but it won't be easy, with Cyle Larin and Darwin Ceren away on international duty. The Lions do get Brek Shea back, but as of Friday, Bryan Rochez had not yet returned from the FIFA U-20 World Cup and so it's unlikely he'll be in the 18. Reserve right back Tyler Turner has returned from the U.S. U-23 squad.
I think we'll see Shea replace Lewis Neal at the left attacking midfield position and Pedro Ribeiro will probably start up top, giving Adrian Heath the option of bringing Carlos Rivas off the bench later in the game, when his speed is such an asset (as we saw last week).
D.C. got its two wins over Orlando without the assistance of forward Fabian Espindola, but he'll likely start tonight and he'll be a handful for the OCSC back line. He's not only a scoring threat, but he can very suddenly spring teammates free. Espindola has a goal and four assists in 311 minutes played.
In a few hours, we'll see if the Lions can capture three points from the season series.
Here's all the content you need to prepare for tonight's match:
- Andrew Marcinko's match preview takes a deeper dive into the match
- This week's PawedCast previews the match and recaps the Chicago game
- My Intelligence Report with Ben Bromley of Black and Red United
- Scott Crumbly reviews the first two meetings and asks, "is the third time the charm?"
- Allen Etzler gives you three players to watch from each team
Orlando City (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Tally Hall
Defenders: Luke Boden, Sean St. Ledger, Aurelien Collin, Rafael Ramos
Defensive Midfielders: Lewis Neal, Cristian Higuita
Attacking Midfielders: Brek Shea, Kaká, Eric Avila
Forward: Pedro Ribeiro
Bench: Donovan Ricketts, Seb Hines, Amobi Okugo, Carlos Rivas, Harrison Heath,Danny Mwanga
D.C. United (4-4-2)
Goalkeeper: Bill Hamid
Defenders: Chris Korb, Bobby Boswell, Steve Birnbaum, Taylor Kemp
Midfielders: Nick DeLeon, Davy Arnaud, Perry Kitchen, Chris Rolfe
Forwards: Fabian Espindola, Jairo Arrieta
Bench: Andrew Dykstra, Kofi Opare, Luke Mishu, Luis Silva, Miguel Aguilar, Jared Jeffrey, Conor Doyle
REF: Jose Carlos Rivero
AR1: Craig Lowry
AR2: Brian Poeschel
4TH: Marcos De Oliveira
How to Watch:
Match time: 7 p.m. (ET)
Venue: Citrus Bowl, Orlando, Florida
TV: FOX Sports 1, FOX Deportes
Radio: 104.1 FM Real Radio (English), La Grande 1030 AM (Spanish)
Streaming: FOX Sports GO
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