DC United’s unbeaten streak of seven games is impressive and has allowed the Black and Red to maintain a share of first place in the Eastern Conference with New England. Of concern for United are points lost at home with three draws in its last four home matches.
United concludes its three-game home stand against Orlando City Wednesday at RFK Stadium and is anxious to secure all three points from a victory. The three recent home draws, including Saturday’s 1-1 tie with Sporting Kansas City, are frustrating not only because of six lost points in the standings, but in each of the three matches United scored the first goal.
For Orlando it was a dream start to the season for an expansion side with a tie and a win in its first two games. Since grabbing three points from the opening two weeks Orlando has only won once, but is energized after fighting back to force a 2-2 tie with New England on a stoppage time goals from Auerlin Collin.
- Disrupt Kaka. In the middle of the park Kaka has the ability to influence a game and his freedom to roam will present multiple challenges for United’s defense. United cannot sleep on Kaka. He only needs a moment to make magic happen as evidenced when he scored the tying goal in the 90th minute against NYFC to open the season. Kaka has three goals, including one on a penalty kick, and one assist so far. There is also a developing story in Orlando’s attack with Cyle Larin who now has two goals from four appearances. The rookie from the University of Connecticut gives Kaka someone to link up with. Larin is a physical forward with size at 6’2” and athleticism to pose a serious threat.
- Defend and attack the flank. Brek Shea, who has played on the left side of midfield and at left back, and right back Rafael Ramos are particularly dangerous going forward. United has its own quality and depth on the flank and will look to mute the effectiveness of Shea and Ramos while trying to exploit their forward progress.
- Make a statement. After Wednesday’s match United is away for three straight games and it would be nice to hit the road with a surge of confidence. Fabian Espindola missed the Sporting Kansas City game with a knee injury and whether he plays Wednesday or not should not matter. United has the quality in attack to be more threatening and finish more often. There is no such thing as a must win in May, but more lost points at home could haunt United later in the season.