A late Daryl Dike strike allowed Orlando City to claim all three points against D.C. United at Exploria Stadium. It was a huge win for the Lions as they break a five-game winless streak and move up in the crowded Eastern Conference. It was a much-needed three points for the team as they close in on a playoff spot for the second consecutive year.
Here are my takeaways from Orlando City’s 2-1 win over D.C. United.
Lions Come Out Slow
Orlando City came out slow in both halves, with D.C. United having the early opportunities. United had the first two shots of the game in the first six minutes, with the second one being the opening goal by Julian Gressel. The second half saw a similar start, with D.C. having a couple of chances inside the first five minutes. Fortunately, they weren’t able to convert and the Lions came out of their slumber before any further damage was done.
Orlando City Has Problems Finishing
Orlando City came away with a late 2-1 win but was nearly a disappointing draw. Benji Michel made a nice diagonal run in the 35th minute and Nani timed his pass well, sending the forward through. Michel was in on goal and had Bill Hamid beaten to the far post but missed the target.
In the 88th minute, a bad giveaway by D.C. and strong shielding by Dike set up a golden opportunity for Tesho Akindele. However, the striker seemed to slip as he hit the ball, not getting much on it, allowing for a last-ditch save. Similar to Michel, Akindele should have netted the game-winner. Had Dike not scored his late goal, this would’ve been a draw that felt like a loss.
Lions Push For the Win
This one probably has more to do with circumstance than anything else. There have been home games this year where Orlando City settled for a draw. To finish high in the standings in this league, you need to take maximum points at home as often as possible. On Saturday, Orlando City pushed more than they have at any point this season for the win. That likely has to do with the fact that they really needed three points with the Eastern Conference so tight behind New England. But it was good to see the team go forward and put pressure on their opponents late at home.
Orlando City Remains a Contender
Orlando City’s four-game losing streak and five-game winless streak couldn’t have come at a worse time. As the season was winding down, the team hit a slide that saw them go from second to seventh in the Eastern Conference. If that slide had continued much longer, they would’ve found themselves under the red line — something that would have seemed unimaginable a month ago. However, the team’s win moves the Lions up in the Eastern Conference and makes a statement that they’re still in contention for not just a playoff spot, but a home playoff game.
Daryl Dike Being the Striker Orlando City Needs
Teams need a quality striker who will score when you need it most to make a run in the postseason. The only player on Orlando City’s roster that meets that qualification is Dike. After drawing and converting a big penalty in Nashville, the big man did it again against D.C. by scoring the game-winner. While Dike played well last year and on loan at Barnsley, it was unknown how he’d fare when everyone knew he was the go-to guy. So far, it looks like he’s up to the challenge and gives Orlando City something it would otherwise be sorely missing.
This is what I took away from Orlando City’s huge 2-1 win over D.C. United. Let us know what stood out to you in the comments below.