One of the MLS’ new southern rivalries gets going again this weekend as Orlando City SC hosts the Atlanta United. The hosts can move back into second place with a win, while Atlanta looks to end the longest winless streak in team history. The match at Exploria Stadium in Orlando is set for 8:00 p.m. ET on Friday and will be televised by ESPN.
The Lions have owned this southern rivalry the last two seasons with two wins and three draws in the five matches. The teams played to a 0-0 draw in April. Before 2019 the rivalry was all Atlanta as the Five Stripes won six of the first eight with two draws.
Atlanta Desperate To End Skid
With an interim coach in charge, the Five Stripes were hoping to end their franchise-worst winless run at home last week but gave up a second-half goal on a free-kick. The 1-0 loss to Columbus makes it 10 in a row without a win for Atlanta. They will still be without goalkeeper Brad Guzan and defender Miles Robinson in this match as the duo play for the USMNT in the Gold Cup.
Rob Valentino took over for fired Gabriel Heinze earlier this month and changed Atlanta from a 4-3-3 formation to a 4-2-3-1. They haven’t posted a clean sheet in the last five games and have scored just three goals total in their last seven matches.
Marcelino Moreno leads Atlanta with three goals, while Anton Walker has scored twice. Josef Martinez also has two goals in just five starts since coming back from his ACL injury. When deputizing for Guzan, Alec Kann has allowed just five goals in four games while making 17 saves.
Orlando Needs To Rediscover Mojo
The Lions were flying high before July and competing for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. However, they have three losses in their last five games, including a disastrous 5-0 setback at Yankee Stadium against NYCFC last weekend. With only one win in the last five, they are on their worst stretch since before the MLS is Back Tournament in July 2020.
Midfielder Mauricio Pereyra makes it go for the Lions. He has six assists on the season and has provided helpers for five different goal scorers. The six assists are the second most in the MLS so far this season.
Winger Nani leads the team with seven goals and has added four assists. Chris Mueller has just two goals so far this season after a breakout 2020 campaign, but he does have four assists. The Lions will have one more game to get through without striker Daryl Dike who is on the Gold Cup roster.
- Orlando City ML -115. -0.5 goals (-140)
- Atlanta United ML +300 +0.5 goals (-120)
- Draw +260
- Total: 2.5. Over -120. Under +100
- First goal: Orlando City -165, Atlanta United +155. No Goals +800
Atlanta has just one win in their last 17 road games, and they have lost or tied 12 straight on the road. Orlando has won four of their seven home games this season with just four goals allowed. Goals have been hard to come by for Atlanta and without Robinson and Guzan in the back, look for Nani and company to take advantage.
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