D.C. United fell 1-0 to Orlando City SC in their sixth match of the 2021 Major League Soccer regular season. Despite outshooting Orlando 13-6 and keeping 55% of the possession throughout the match, United were unable to turnaround an early defifict and fell to 2-4-0 on the season.
Jon Kempin started his second straight match in goal for United. Tony Alfaro, Brendan Hines-Ike, and Frédéric Brillant started as the three center backs with Joseph Mora and Paul Arriola as the two wing backs. Junior Moreno, Moses Nyeman, and Drew Skundrich played their second straight match together in the midfield and Edison Flores and Adrien Perez led the line up front.
Orlando City scored the opening goal of the match in the seventh minute when Mauricio Pereyra finished from in-close. United were the better side for the remainder of the first half, dominating possession and creating more chances. In the 23rd minute, Moses Nyeman found Edison Flores with a nice pass into the box, only for Flores to see his shot pushed wide by the Orlando goalkeeper. Later in the half, United nearly leveled the score on a quick counter attack. Flores burst into the Orlando box and played a disguised backheel pass into Arriola’s path, but his shot was blocked by a last-ditch sliding challenge from an Orlando defender. Despite their constant pressure, United trailed 1-0 heading into halftime.
The Black-and-Red continued their strong play in the second half. Only a few minutes after the restart, Arriola took on three different Orlando City defenders before firing narrowly wide of the left post from just inside the box. Arriola, in his first start for United since the 2019 season, created chances all night and nearly gave the Black-and-Red the equalizer they needed on multiple occasions. Orlando City were pinned in their own box for the majority of the half, but United were unable to get the goal they needed to get them back into the match as Orlando hung on to win the match 1-0.
Homegrown midfielder Kevin Paredes came on as a sub in the second half for his first appearance since November 2020 and looked an immediate threat. His trickery and pace on the left wing were welcomed addition on the night.
D.C. United’s return home on Sunday, May 23 at 7 p.m. EST at Audi Field where they will take on the Philadelphia Union. Tune into NBC Sports Washington, TeleXitos, and www.dcunited.com to watch the match.