The Lions ended a four-game losing streak with a 2-2 draw in the music city against Nashville SC, while DC have won three of their last four matches, after getting past Minnesota United 3-1.
A season that looked to be on the decline took an unexpected turn for Oscar Pareja and his Orlando side, who came back from 2-0 down with a pair of goals in the final 14 minutes to pick up a valuable point in their previous match.
In the previous week the Lions were unlucky to come away with nothing against the top-seeded New England Revolution, losing on an own-goal, but on Wednesday, some good karma came back their way for a change with an own-goal from Nashville midfielder Brian Anunga in injury-time.
That draw keeps Orlando in a playoff position, currently holding down the final spot in the east, sitting two points above CF Montreal.
With six shots on target and 64% of the possession versus the Black-and-Gold, they were full marks to pocket a draw, playing with a real purpose and commitment that we had not seen from them in weeks.
With so much adrenaline and emotions going through Orlando from that dramatic comeback, they will have to make sure that they can turn their attention to this game on Saturday, with an opportunity to potentially move up the Eastern Conference table.
The Lions are tied on points with New York City FC, the Philadelphia Union and Atlanta United, but they are the only one of those sides with an inferior goal difference, which currently sits at -1.
It is incredible how quickly things can shift, and the tables have turned in a big way for DC United in the Eastern Conference, following their second consecutive victory on Wednesday.
While they are as high as they have ever been in the standings this year, sitting in third place, Hernan Losada knows that his players cannot afford to take their foot off the gas with four teams breathing down their neck, just a point behind the Black-and-Red.
After scoring multiple goals in only one of their opening seven fixtures this year, they have been one of the most clinical sides in the final third lately, scoring 13 times in September, with 48 strikes so far this year, second only to the New England Revolution.
Last month DC scored nine of their 13 goals in the second half, losing only one of their five fixtures as they are now in a strong position to make the playoffs for the first time since 2019.
If they can maintain their current standing, it would be their best finish to a regular season since 2014, when they ended the year in first place in their conference with 59 points.
To beat that total, they will need six wins and a draw from their final seven fixtures, and given how unpredictable this season has been, it would be hard to bet against that happening.
Orlando striker Daryl Dike helped spark their comeback on Wednesday, scoring his fifth of the year and his first from the penalty spot, while goalkeeper Pedro Gallese hit the century mark for saves, making four against Nashville for 103 to this point of his MLS career.
Alexander Alvarado tallied his second start of the year in midweek, Antonio Carlos made his 50th appearance for the club, while Rodrigo Schlegel will be suspended for this encounter after his caution versus Nashville.
Pareja made three changes to the starting 11 in their previous match, inserting Carlos, Alvarado and Silvester van der Water into the fold, while Alexandre Pato, Joey DeZart, Chris Mueller and Uri Rosell are all out with undisclosed injuries.
Drew Skundrich has an undisclosed injury, Chris Odoi-Atsem is questionable with a quad issue, Ramon Abila will not see the field due to a sore groin, Adrien Perez continues to be hampered by a foot problem and Brendan Hines-Ike is having trouble recovering from a hip injury.
Orlando City possible starting lineup:
Gallese; Moutinho, Smith, Carlos, Mas; Bender, Mendez, Urso; Pereyra, Dike, Akindele
DC United possible starting lineup:
Hamid; Najar, Brillant, Pines; Gressel, Nyeman, Paredes; Arriola, Reyna, Flores; Kamara
We say: Orlando City 1-3 DC United
Even with that incredible comeback against the Black-and-Gold, the fact remains that the Lions are making it far too easy for opposing sides to run into space, and their defence is not the same stingy one that we saw in the first six games of the year, conceding six goals in their last two home games.
DC know how difficult it will be to earn points against Nashville and New England, who they face in their next two encounters, so look for them to push hard to try and get a bit of a cushion in the Eastern Conference table with this match.