Welcome to your match thread for tonight’s U.S. Open Cup round of 16 match-up between Orlando City and D.C. United at the Maryland SoccerPlex. And welcome back to the Bobby Murphy era. This will be the first match since Jason Kreis was fired and it’s anyone’s guess what the lineup will look like but the previous and current interim coach hinted at a strong lineup for tonight.
This will be the first ever meeting between the two sides in U.S. Open Cup play and the second of three overall meetings this season, with one league match at D.C. remaining later this summer, on Sunday, Aug. 12.
The Lions have met MLS competition just twice previously since joining the league in 2015, going 1-1 in those matches, with a 2-0 home win over the Columbus Crew and a 3-1 road loss against the Chicago Fire — both in the club’s inaugural MLS season. Orlando City is 3-5 overall against MLS sides in the Open Cup since 2011, and is 11-7-1 in all-time U.S. Open Cup match-ups, with the lone draw coming in 2015 when the Lions advanced past the Charleston Battery on penalties.
The Lions are 4-3-1 against D.C. in the all-time series since the club joined MLS. Orlando is 1-2-0 on the road against United but this will be the first ever meeting at the Maryland SoccerPlex. The two teams met on opening day and the Lions posted a dramatic late 1-1 draw on Stefano Pinho’s 93rd-minute goal after going down to 10 men 41 minutes into the match.
Orlando swept the two meetings in 2017, starting with a 2-0 win over United at Orlando City Stadium on May 31. Cyle Larin and Giles Barnes provided the offense to help the Lions snap what was then a six-game winless skid. City also snapped an eight-game skid (0-6-2) when the teams met again on Sept. 9, when the Lions had two men sent off but still won, 2-1. Larin and Barnes did the damage again, so United fans will not mind seeing that neither player is on the 2018 OCSC roster. Kofi Opare gave his team a lifeline in the 89th minute but D.C. couldn’t find an equalizer.
The teams split two lopsided games in 2016, with each team winning at home. United grabbed a 4-1 win at RFK Stadium and the Lions avenged that loss with a 4-2 win to close their tenure at Camping World Stadium.
The Black & Red won the first meeting back on April 3, 2015, with Luis Silva scoring on a 91st-minute free kick, breaking Orlando hearts, 1-0. On May 13 of that inaugural season, Orlando led 1-0 on Larin’s goal, but D.C. scored twice to win, 2-1. Orlando finally got on the board in the series on June 14 that year with Kaká scoring off the rebound of his own missed penalty to provide the Lions’ 1-0 winning margin.
This is a difficult section to write. The Lions have seen Bobby Murphy assume coaching duties in the wake of Jason Kreis’ departure on Friday. Murphy went 0-1-3 in four matches in charge of Orlando City in 2016, but all were league matches. It’s his first time in charge in the U.S. Open Cup and against a fellow MLS side and playing on the road, it’s likely he’ll go with a strong lineup despite a looming rematch with the Montreal Impact on Saturday.
Look for a mixture of starters and the more experienced backups to start in this one, with a few starters on the bench as well. Guys like Dom Dwyer and Jonathan Spector may play a half to keep them relatively fresh for Saturday while giving the Lions a chance to advance in the tournament. I doubt we’ll see a big departure shape-wise. Murphy went with a 4-2-3-1 formation in all four of his games at the helm in 2016.
Beyond that, we just don’t know.
We also don’t know how strong of a lineup Ben Olsen will use tonight, but it’s probably wise to expect a full lineup of starters since United doesn’t play again in MLS until June 30, so they’ll be looking to improve upon a 39-16 all-time record in the competition.
Orlando City is finally getting healthy again. Aside from Yoshimar Yotún (international duty), most of the squad will be available. Scott Sutter has returned to full training although he is not nearly match fit at this point. Lamine Sané is inching closer to a return. Will Johnson could return from a hamstring that kept him out last Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the MLS site lists the following D.C. United players as out: Taylor Kemp (groin), Russell Canouse (knee), Chris Odoi-Atsem (calf), Ulises Segura (knee), Nick DeLeon (knee), and Kofi Opare (ankle).
Mandatory Match #Content
- Our Intelligence Report tells us more about United from Ben Bromley of SB Nation’s D.C. blog, Black and Red United.
- This week's PawedCast includes our key match-ups and predictions, plus we talked to Black and Red United’s Jason Anderson about the game and about the Pride’s trip to Washington this weekend.
Orlando City (3-4-3)
Goalkeeper: Earl Edwards, Jr.
Defenders: Amro Tarek, Lamine Sané, Jonathan Spector.
Wingbacks/Midfielders: Mohamed El-Munir, Sacha Kljestan, Cristian Higuita, RJ Allen.
Forwards: Justin Meram, Stefano Pinho, Chris Mueller.
Bench: Joe Bendik, Will Johnson, Richie Laryea, Tony Rocha, Josué Colmán, Scott Sutter, Jose Villareal.
DC United (4-1-4-1)
Goalkeeper: Steve Clark.
Defenders: Joseph Mora, Steve Birnbaum, Frederic Brillant, Oniel Fisher.
Defensive Midfielder: Chris Durkin.
Attacking Midfielders: Yamil Asad. Luciano Acosta, Ian Harkes, Zoltan Stieber.
Forward: Darren Mattocks.
Bench: Travis Worra, Jared Jeffrey, Bruno Miranda, Jalen Robinson, Junior Moreno, Patrick Mullins, Dane Kelly.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7 p.m. (ET).
Venue: Maryland SoccerPlex — Boyds, MD.
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