On the one hand last night was a great show of never giving up and a player with spectacular talent on an unbelievable run of form saving his team. On the other, drawing to a team at home that has one win since the end of June is a serious let down. At the very least, that was an exciting match.
Atlanta United was in a difficult spot with Leandro Gonzalez Pirez suspended and Greg Garza injured. The changes on the backline saw the team allow three trash goals to a team that hasn’t offered anything going forward in months.
Orlando City needed to win this game to keep their slim playoff hopes alive but also had to overcome the challenge of missing four players in the match due to suspension. Rather than abandon his mostly ineffective diamond midfield formation, Jason Kreis chose instead to bypass the midfield all game and play long to his forward pair.
It was ineffective at containing the Atlanta attack but did lead to some chances for Dom Dwyer and Cyle Larin. The duo showed that if they aren’t marked they’ll score three goals a game. Luckily, Atlanta showed that if they get gobs of space and possession they can match that effort and Josef Martinez recorded his second consecutive hat trick to continue his otherworldly run of form. Sadly, not even a last second blast from Tito Villalba could take the three points for the Five Stripes and they split the points with OCSC.
Here’s how it looked on the box score...
Tata Martino can take the blame if he wants, but Anton Walkes lost his man on the back post twice to give up goals. Still, Josef Martinez scored goals against OCSC like they stole something from him (which, perhaps isn’t that far fetched).
Jason Kreis can call it a diamond midfield all he wants, but if they don’t try to possess the ball, it isn’t working how he’s designed it. At the end of the day, Atlanta United took five points from three games against Orlando so will wear the title of Kings of the South for their expansion season. United will host the LA Galaxy on Wednesday and look to make more progress in climbing the table.