Match Recap

Atlanta United rises above Orlando City SC 2-0 in Resurgens Kit debut


The Resurgens Kit era got off to a strong start for Atlanta United on Sunday night. In the debut of the club’s new community kit, the team played Eastern Conference foe Orlando City SC to a 2-0 victory at Mercedes-Benz Stadium behind goals from Saba Lobjanidze and Giorgos Giakoumakis.

It's the second consecutive win for Atlanta United and the team's first clean sheet of the season.

"It was a game more grinding, fighting, competing, and never giving up, and the players did well," head coach Gonzalo Pineda said in the postmatch press conference. "Some positives, but we have the reminder that we need to do better."

The opening goal arrived following a quick throw-in from Caleb Wiley. It was Giorgos Giakoumakis, last week's hat trick scorer, who set up the play. He used the outside of his right foot to bend an incredible long-range pass behind Orlando’s backline to Saba Lobjanidze sprinting down the pitch with open space on the right side. The winger took his defender 1v1 then, from a tough angle, slipped a low-driven shot past Orlando City goalkeeper Pedro Gallese to give Atlanta United the early lead in the ninth minute.

It was the first goal for Lobjanidze and the first assist for Giakoumakis on the season.

"The game against Columbus [Saba] was impressive, this game was impressive again, both sides of the ball," Pineda said. "He's been working really, really hard. I have to give him credit there because he had that objective in preseason to work harder, to be better, to regain more balls... This year he's been way closer, he's been more aggressive, regaining the ball in better areas. The back pressing has been much better. Tactically and mentally he's improving big time in the defensive phase."

The pair synced up later in the second half for the team’s second goal of the night. Lobjanidze played a pass up the pitch to fullback Brooks Lennon who was making a run. Lennon made a fierce cutback that sent his defender sliding and laid the ball off for the reigning MLS Player of the Matchday just outside the 18-yard box. Giakoumakis with his first touch drove a powerful shot that hit the inside of the crossbar and  delivered to double Atlanta United’s lead in the 71st minute.

It was the fourth goal of the year for Giakoumakis, which means he regains a share of the lead in the Golden Boot race. Lennon was credited with the assist.

"The way I rate GG is not only for his ability to score goals, we know he will do that even if he closes his eyes, that he will score goals this year," Pineda said. "But the defensive phase. How he's pressing, how he's chasing, how he's starting those defensive actions. And at times, he ran past some midfielders, wingers to do all that effort. That is massively important for me and the leadership that he shows there."

Veteran goalkeeper Brad Guzan, making his 200th appearance in all competitions for the club, the first player in club history to do so, was called into action in the sixth minute. Luis Muriel of Orlando sent a searing strike on frame that Guzan quickly read and punched over the crossbar for his first save of the match. Atlanta's big, bald wall finished the night with four saves.

The clean sheet Sunday was the eighth ever against Orlando for Guzan, the most against any opponent since he joined the 5-Stripes in 2017. The shutout was the first for the 5-Stripes since August 26, 2023 in the 4-0 win over Nashville SC.

"From a competitive standpoint, I thought we were excellent, we were really good," Guzan said. "But overall, we need to be better."

Derrick Williams very nearly scored his first goal with Atlanta United in the 39th minute. The center back from Ireland almost found his luck on St. Patrick’s Day on a header off an Atlanta corner kick. The header was on its way, just below the crossbar, when Gallese rose to punch it away. Williams put a header on frame the very next play, on another Atlanta United corner kick, but was called for a foul.

In Atlanta United's three matches this season, including Sunday against Orlando City SC, Pineda has gone with the same starting XI. With his start, Caleb Wiley set a new mark for Atlanta United homegrowns, making his 55th start for the club in all competitions. The previous record holder was George Bello, who Wiley also surpassed earlier this season in number of regular season starts.

It wouldn’t be an Atlanta-Orlando match without some intensity. Following an edgy moment, which resulted in yellow cards given to Orlando City’s Robin Jansson in the 49th minute and Xande Silva of Atlanta United in the 50th, both sides worked to regain a rhythm. But it was the 5-Stripes wearing blue and yellow who earned three points on St. Patrick's Day in the latest chapter of this historic rivalry.

Match Stats
Atlanta United 
Orlando City SC
Shots on target
Corner kicks
Fouls committed
Passing accuracy

Up next - Atlanta United travels north of the border

After back-to-back wins at home, Atlanta United will have the chance to take their momentum on the road and get their third straight result. The club's next test is next Saturday, March 23 when they face Toronto FC at BMO Field. Watch the match on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.

Additionally, six Atlanta United players have been called up to join their national teams during the upcoming FIFA international window. See which players will be representing their countries.

Leagues Cup

Leagues Cup

All of the clubs from MLS and Liga MX will compete in a completely reimagined Leagues Cup: an annual, month-long tournament that runs from July 26-August 25, 2024.

Resurgens Kit

Resurgens Kit

Blue is a nod to the renewal of Atlanta. Yellow represents Atlanta’s vibrant history and identity. This is Atlanta United's latest community kit.