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Atlanta United vs Orlando City: Match Preview

The Five Stripes look to bounce back from a Wednesday night defeat

MLS: Atlanta United FC at Orlando City SC Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta United was dealt a bit of a midweek reality check by the New England Revolution, but it can bounce right back into the win column this weekend when our old friends Orlando City visit the Benz. This will be the final MLS match for the Five Stripes until August 20th, as the league will go on hold for the Leagues Cup.

MLS: Chicago Fire at Orlando City SC Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

This game will have stakes beyond those of a rivalry game, as Orlando is part of the same clump of teams in the Eastern Conference playoff spots. Atlanta, in 6th, has a one-point lead on the 7th-placed Purple Lions, although the latter has a game in hand. A win for Atlanta could see it go up to 3rd while Orlando could end the week 4th. In other words, the East is a mess and this is an excellent opportunity for Atlanta to put some space between itself and Orlando.

Oscar Pareja’s side just about perfectly matches up with its 9W-7D-6L record, boasting the 5th-best defense and 6th-best attack in the East. It’s had moments of greatness here and there but generally struggled to be anything better than “good” for the majority of the season. Highly touted DP winger Facundo Torres (7g, 2a) remains the main dangerman in his second season in MLS, but the real surprise has come in the form of rookie striker Duncan Maguire (7g, 2a) who’s beaten out another DP, Ercan Kara, for the starting striker role. While Torres and Maguire lead the charge, Orlando has a formidable supporting cast of wingers in Martin Ojeda (4g, 5a) and Ivan Angulo (3g, 3a). None of these players are superstars every matchday, but when they click, the talent is undeniable.

MLS: Atlanta United FC at New England Revolution Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta’s 2-1 loss to New England was a reminder that the formation change won’t solve all of its problems, but still, the 2 goals it’s conceded in the last 3 is a much better tally than the 35 it let in in the 20 prior outings. With Miles Robinson back from international duty, hopefully the back three is here to stay. The bad news, though, is that Giorgos Giakoumakis is still questionable with injury, so it won’t quite be a full-strength Five Stripes for all 90 minutes.

Previous Results

Atlanta has a 9W-7D-3L lead in the all-time series, including a 1-1 draw back in May in the reverse fixture headlined by a late Tyler Wolff equalizer.

Predicted Starting XIs

Atlanta’s Predicted XI (3-4-2-1)
Orlando’s Predicted XI (4-2-3-1)

Prediction: Atlanta United 2-0 Orlando City

Despite Orlando’s conference second-best away record, Atlanta will claim all three points thanks to a Thiago Almada brace (because who else???).