Exploria Stadium is the venue for an Independence Day clash between D.C. United and Orlando City SC on Monday night.
The Black-and-Red travel to Exploria Stadium for their 14th all-time meeting with Orlando on Monday July 4th at 7 p.m. ET. The match is set to be broadcast live on NBC Sports Washington, TeleXitos and available for streaming at dcunited.com and ESPN+.
It’s a crucial one for D.C., who hope to snap a winless streak and pick up 3 road points with the halfway mark of the season quickly approaching.
Orlando City come into this match off the heels of a grueling Open Cup quarterfinal against Nashville SC.
After trailing 1-0 for most of the match, Orlando defender Rodrigo Schlegel bundled the ball into the net in the 94th minute to send the match into extra time. 30 minutes of extra time couldn’t decide the winner and neither could the first 11 PKs. In the end, it was goalkeeper Pedro Gallese who came up with the save in sudden death, sending Orlando City to the semifinals.
D.C. United hope to capitalize on weary legs on Monday. Even with more than 120 minutes of miles on their legs, however, the Black-and-Red aren’t underestimating this Orlando side. They currently sit 5th in the Eastern Conference standings (25 points, 7-4-6).
“It’s a very good team,” Chad Ashton said during his pre-match press conference on Saturday. “They’ve been very consistent the past couple years under Óscar Pareja. We’re going to have to go out there and earn it.”
D.C. United defender Brendan Hines-Ike spoke about the “tough” internal conversations, on and off the pitch, the Black-and-Red have had in recent weeks. With almost half the season in the books, there’s a real sense of urgency in the D.C. United camp, and Monday presents an opportunity to right the ship.
“Instead of just looking at Orlando in general, I think we’re just looking more at ourselves,” he said on Saturday. “I think it’s more just individual mistakes that continue to cost us.... Those things have to change if we’re going to win games. It especially has to change if we’re going to get points on the road.”
On the defensive front, Hines-Ike said, keeping a clean sheet is top priority. The team has yet to do so since their May 7 match against the Houston Dynamo.
The Black-and-Red are eager to turn things around with quickness and Monday is as good as an opportunity to do so.
“I know as supporters and as fans it’s tough on them,” Hines-Ike said. “We have to change that. That has to come from us. It’s not going to come from anyone else.”
Transferring that accountability and sense of urgency from the locker room to the pitch will be the key for D.C. to capture 3 points on Monday.
Last Time Out
D.C. United suffered a 3-1 defeat at home against Nashville in their last outing.
The Black-and-Red conceded early despite creating good chances of their own in the first 10 minutes. A goal right before and right after the break made it 3-0 before the hour-mark.
D.C. United midfielder Taxi Fountas pulled one back in the 59th minute, finishing off an end-to-end effort from the Black-and-Red.
There were bright moments for Chad Ashton’s side, but the early defensive lapses were too much to overcome in the end. Heading into Monday’s match, he has full faith in his players to bring them out of this moment.
“There are guys on our team that know how to win,” Ashton said. “We have a good crew. We believe in ourselves, and we believe we’ll dig ourselves out of this.”