DC United 4, Orlando City 1 | 2016 MLS Match Recap
A golden opportunity to jump above the red line in the Eastern Conference was there for the taking, and D.C. United grabbed it by the scruff of the neck while Orlando City let it slip through their fingers.
D.C. United defeated a 10-man Orlando City side, 4-1, on Saturday night in an Eastern Conference tilt between two teams fighting to jump into the playoff picture. Forward Patrick Mullins paced United in the win at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. with two goals, and Lloyd Sam and Julian Buescher added the other strikes for the hosts.
Orlando trailed for much of the match, falling behind 3-0 early in the second half after D.C. added insurance goals in the 51st and 53rd minutes, but the visitors' hopes for a comeback took a hit after Antonio Nocerino's 66th-minute ejection. Nocerino was sent off with a straight red card for elbowing Mullins in the chest.
The Lions pulled one back in impressive fashion via a Julio Baptista free kick, but it served as merely a consolation goal as Buescher came off the bench to cap DC's scoring near the death.
The victory saw D.C. United move into the sixth and final playoff place in the East, leaving the New England Revolution and Orlando City in the rearview mirror. D.C. now have 37 points through 30 games, while the Revolution and Lions have 36 and 34, respectively, in the same amount of matches.
- 34' – DC – Patrick Mullins (Taylor Kemp, Patrick Nyarko)
- 51 – DC – Lloyd Sam (Taylor Kemp, Luciano Acosta)
- 53' – DC – Patrick Mullins (Patrick Nyarko)
- 72' – ORL – Julio Baptista
- 90 - DC – Julian Buescher (Lamar Neagle, Taylor Kemp)
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- TWO IN QUICK SUCCESSION: While D.C. United were largely the more threatening side in the first half, their lead was still only at 1-0 at halftime. DC came flying out of the gates in the second stanza, however, and the two goals they scored shortly after the break effectively put the game out of reach as they left Orlando with little to no hope of getting back into things.
- DROPPING DIMES: Patrick Mullins will get plenty of shine for his two-goal outing, but the one player who is just as deserving of praise, if not more, is left back Taylor Kemp. The veteran left back had three assists on the night, and his first two were awfully pretty. He first helped open the scoring by picking out Mullins inside the six-yard box with a well-weighted low ball, and then delivered a perfect cross that ended with Lloyd Sam netting via a rare header.
- LIONS DISAPPOINT ALL AROUND: In a match with so much on the line, Orlando City fell short on both sides of the ball. Attacking catalysts Kaka and Cyle Larin were tame for the most part, and substituted around or before the midway point of the second half, while the defense was far too poor in its marking and in 1-on-1 battles. Making matters worse was Antonio Nocerino's decision to elbow Mullins right in front of referee Sorin Stoica. The result of all that? A lopsided defeat that may have dealt a definitive blow to the Lions' playoff hopes.