Major League Soccer: Orlando City vs Atlanta United
Orlando City Stadium – Friday, July 21 – 19:00 ET (00:00 GMT)
Match Odds: Orlando City 11/8 – Draw 5/2 – Atlanta United 17/10
Orlando City vs Atlanta United: Preview
Neither side has played a game for over two weeks as a result of the Gold Cup break. Atlanta come into Friday’s game in fourth, one point and two places higher than Orlando.
The Lions know the pressure is on them to get a win in front of their own fans. They can leapfrog Atlanta with a victory and put themselves well on track for a first-ever playoff spot.
Orlando City fell 3-1 at home to Toronto in their last game before the break. That result stretched their home winless run to four games, with a 3-1 US Open Cup defeat to Miami FC included.
Jason Kreis has had a long time to prepare for this game. A victory will put the Lions back on track. A defeat would leave them in trouble at a vital stage of the season.
Atlanta should come into Friday’s match in good spirits. They picked up a 4-2 win over San Jose before the two-week break. That victory came just days after they won 2-0 at Columbus Crew.
Despite being an expansion side, Atlanta have impressed from the word ‘go’. They have a strong squad, with difference-makers across the midfield and attack.
They will undoubtedly fancy their chances of leaving Orlando with all three points. Although even a draw would leave the visitors in a prime position to secure postseason soccer at the first attempt.
This will be the first ever meeting between the two sides. Although given the attacking nature of both teams, this has the potential to be a thriller. Orlando and Atlanta have goals in them, so you don’t want to miss this one.
Orlando City vs Atlanta United: Team News
Cyle Larin was called up to the Canada squad for their quarter-final clash with Jamaica on Thursday night so he will be unavailable for Orlando. Rafael Ramos is still ruled out through injury. Jose Aja is one booking away from suspension and will need to watch his step.
Atlanta United are set to see Brad Guzan between the sticks for the first time. The long-time Premier League goalkeeper was released from USMNT duty after the group stages of the Gold Cup, so is expected to start here. The visitors will be without Romario Williams, who has been at the Gold Cup with the Jamaica squad for the past few weeks. They will still be without injured trio Jacob Peterson, Kenwyne Jones and Alec Kann.
Orlando City vs Atlanta United: Key Points
Orlando City’s last five: D/D/L/W/L
Atlanta United’s last five: W/L/W/W/W
Key Stat: Atlanta are in the best form of their season, having won three-straight MLS games. They have scored seven in that time, conceding twice.
Key Player: Josef Martinez – The Atlanta striker has been excellent when fit this season. He netted twice in the win over San Jose last time out and should be raring to go here. His pace will cause Orlando all kinds of problems on the counter-attack.
Orlando City vs Atlanta United: Prediction
Orlando City 1-3 Atlanta United – Both sides know a win here would put them in a really strong position in the East. However, it’s tough to predict how both sides will cope after a long break from action. Atlanta have goals in them and will look to pick Orlando off on the break. While the loss of Cyle Larin will take away a real threat for the Lions. Atlanta to make it three wins on the spin.