To get everyone ready for Atlanta United’s matchup against Orlando City, we spoke to The Mane Land’s Logan Oliver to get his take on their terrific form, expectations, and their perception of Atlanta’s fanbase.
DSS: Orlando has been in a terrific run of form recently, winning their last six matches. What’s been the key to their early success?
ML: This team is nothing like last season. Improved individual talent across the board and skillsets that compliment each other have transformed the attack. Orlando has plenty of depth to bring on game-changers late on both ends of the pitch. Couple all of that with some surprises like a Rookie of the Year candidate in Chris Mueller, and the Lions can hurt teams in a lot of ways. There’s also been a mental shift and it’s obvious that this team can dig deep and find a result, even if Orlando is two goals down with ten minutes to play. These are not the 2017 Lions.
DSS: Orlando made a plethora of offseason moves. Considering this, how far does the club have to go this season for A) the season to be considered a success and B) for Jason Kreis to keep his job?
ML: The answer to both is to make the playoffs. The recent winning streak solidifies the fact that this team could and should be competing for a playoff place — and potentially a home match — come this fall. Missing out would be considered a failure and anything after that is gravy this time around.
DSS: There seems to always be banter between these two fanbases. What is the general perception of Atlanta fans from an Orlando standpoint?
ML: A sense of entitlement might be the best way to describe it. It’s tough to pin down one idea other than general distaste. Some fans will claim apathy and play down any notion of rivalry, but it’s with a notion that Atlanta fans don’t deserve the attention. Some are vitriolic and have embraced the idea of hating the team up north for any and every reason, but the general theme is anti-Atlanta in the City Beautiful.