D.C. United vs. Orlando City SC Pick & Prediction APRIL 13th 2024

D.C. United will be looking to turn continued promise into material success when they host an Orlando City side again mired in an early-season attacking slump.

Under first-year coach Troy Lesesne, D.C. United (2-1-4, 10 points) has exceeded most early expectations, most recently earning a 1-1 draw last weekend at the defending MLS Cup champion Columbus Crew.

But there’s a sense the Black-and-Red should have more wins to show for their efforts, exemplified by how Saturday’s draw played out.

D.C. missed a load of first-half chances before eventually taking the lead through Christian Benteke’s fifth goal early in the second half.

And after Columbus’ Cucho Hernandez was sent off, Lesesne’s group probably should’ve seen out a 1-0 win. Instead, they conceded a late equalizer through Aidan Morris’ strike from distance.

“We need more complete performances,” Lesesne said. “Now we need to see everything all the way out. Our behavior and our identity I think is something that we can feel good about.

“But are we seeing it every single play throughout the entire course of a match? And the answer is ‘sometimes,’ but it needs to be all the time.”

At least they’ve been more consistently threatening than Orlando (1-3-2, 5 points), which entered the season as a popular darkhorse selection to win the 2024 Supporters’ Shield.

Instead of challenging for the league’s best record, the Lions have been held without a goal in half of their matches.

Duncan McGuire has scored two of the teams’ five total goals, and in last week’s 1-1 home draw against the New York Red Bulls, it took an own-goal to get Orlando on the board.

Manager Oscar Pareja’s group also had only five goals in its first six games a season ago before climbing to a second-place finish in the Eastern Conference and Supporters’ Shield table. But that doesn’t guarantee a similar rebound this year, or quell the frustration in the interim.

“We have volume, we have sequences, we have energy, we have many things that make you win games,” Pareja said of last week’s draw.

“But if you don’t have punch then it’s not going to happen. So, we need to score goals if we want to win games.”

-Field Level Media

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