A View From the Couch
DC United v Orlando City SC
March 11, 2023
The Starting Lineup
Orlando City SC: Pedro Gallese; R. Santos, K. Smith, R. Schlegel, A. M. Salim, I. Angulo; D. Porhalsson, W. Cartagena, M. Pereyra; D. McGuire, F. Torres
Subs: Cesar Araujo, Robin Jansson, Felipe Martins, Ercan Kara, Martin Ojeda, Gaston Gonzalez, Antonio Carlos, Michael Halliday, Mason Stajduhar
Captain - M. Pereyra
The Formation = 5-3-2
DC United: Tyler Miller; Ruan, Steve Birnbaum, Derrick Williams, Mo Jeahze; Mateusz Klich, Russell Canouse; Chris Durkin, Pedro Santos, Ted Ku-DiPietro; Christian Benteke
Subs: Alex Bono, Akinmboni, Najar, Donovan Pines, Victor Palsson, Yamil Asad, Jackson Hopkins, Hayden Sargis, Kristian Fletcher, Jacob Greene
Captain - Steve Birnbaum
The Formation = 4-2-3-1
Three games in and the vibes are good
DC played a strong game that resulted in a 1-1 tie on Saturday night against an Orlando side coming off an away game against Tigres in Mexico. DC dominated possession, shots, and most other stats, but lacked the finishing touch. The exception coming withChris Durkin’s equalizer late in the second have from his left foot. I would contend it to be a potential goal of the week in MLS. Orlando had scored early on in the second half off a rare break forward that resulted in an awkward finish at the back post to put the visitors ahead. DC, and Benteke in particular, had chances to take the game ahead or to have scored in the first half, but the killer instinct was lacking. This seems to be a recurring theme early on for DC and Benteke this season.
The defense at full strength held up
DC was finally able to pair their two presumed starting center backs in Steve Birnbaum and Derrick Willliams. Overall, the pairing worked well. They limited Orlando’s chances and were effective in building out of the back. This may be the most optimistic outlook on this game- DC did not leak goals or chances like they did in previous games.
Averaging just over a point a game
DC after three games have taken 4 points from two home games and one away. Although not excellent, this isn’t the wooden spoon contender points per game rate that some pundits predicted this season. Reason for optimism in the district!
DC came out on the strong foot with multiple chances in the first half including a sitter for Benteke who, despite a strong effort had his shot saved off the line by an outstretched Pedro Gallese. He had another header that went over the bar later in the half. The missed first half chances came back to bite DC in the second half.
Orlando came back after the half with more energy, but DC continued to control most of the possession. On one of their counterattacks, Orlando found space on the wing and put a ball into the back of the net from an awkward finish by MacGuire to beat Miller at the far post. Late in the second half, Durkin found some space at the top of the box, faked a shot and cut to his left foot and sent a shot into the far post side netting for the late equalizer. But this was too little too late for DC who ended the night with 2 points left on the board that they probably should have grabbed. But overall a strong performance from the home side.
Words from the Gaffer:
Wayne Rooney: “I think the chances were there. I think we quite easily could have been two or three up in the first half; so we had good chances, we had some really good opportunities in the final third, but it was a game we failed to take them and take advantage of our performance wise. I thought, first half, we were excellent. It’s exactly how we see in the game going. Controlling the game, playing a lot in their half.
“Thought the reaction was excellent; to come back, to get the equalizer, and then I felt we could have went on won the game, but it wasn’t to be, so I’m happy we come back and got the point. I’m happy with the performance; but we need to again tighten up because they haven’t many opportunities against us, and we conceded another goal. Which we need to tighten up defend better in them situations and be more clinical. It’s what I’ve been saying from the start to the season.”
Fun fact: Chris Durkin’s late goal, was the first conceded by Orlando’s goalkeeper Pedro Gallese.
Next Match: DC United goes to Yankee Stadium to take on NYCFC on March 18 at 7:30 pm ET.