Whenever the 5-Stripes and the purple team meet on the pitch, you know something big is about to go down.
Before Atlanta United and Orlando City SC ever met for the first time in 2017, tensions were brewing between the two passionate fanbases. Atlanta put up a billboard on Orlando’s busiest highway that said “Orlando, we’re coming to conquer.”
Stakes were high going into Exploria Stadium that year. It was a back-and-forth match that saw five yellow cards and over 20 total fouls. After 84 minutes, it looked like the teams would walk away with a point each. Then, HTito Villalba ripped what was later named the 2017 Goal of the Year.
And so, a rivalry was born.
Let’s take a look back at some of the most iconic moments from this matchup over the years.
King Makes History
It’s a name that will forever strike fear into Orlando’s heart. Josef Martínez has received many accolades over his time at Atlanta - most career hat-tricks, most consecutive games with a goal, first MLS player to win All-Star, regular season and MLS Cup MVP honors in same season…the list goes on.
Probably the most satisfying of these has to be when Martínez set the MLS single-season goal-scoring mark with his match-winner against Orlando City on their home turf in 2018.
After a night full of chances, Atlanta United found themselves tied 1-1 against Orlando with less than 16 minutes left in regular time. Surrounded by purple kits, the King cut the ball back and chipped the goalie to find the back of the net. Shirt off, he made his way to the corner flag to give the Orlando fans a proper stare-down.
Friday Night Lights
In September of 2021, the 5-Stripes took their home pitch at Mercedes-Benz Stadium to face their southern rival. At the time, Orlando was higher in the standings and the favorite to win. Little did the visitors know what was in store for them in the 404.
The match-up was the first-ever Friday match at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The 5-Stripes came out early, firing off shots that hit the post and required big saves from the Orlando keeper. In the 24th minute, Atlanta United defender George Campbell headed the ball from a Marcelino Moreno cross and found the back of the net. The goal was the Atlanta native’s first career MLS goal, and he made a special shoutout to his mom on her birthday in the post-match conference after a dominating 3-0 win.
Defense, Defense, Defense
In the first ever US Open Cup meeting between the rivals back in 2019, Orlando thought the home field advantage would be enough to take their first victory over the 5-Stripes. Eric Remedi and Emerson Hyndman had other plans.
While Hyndman’s first ever goal with Atlanta helped seal the victory in the 77th, the most crucial play of the match came right after the second half whistle. Orlando came out attacking after halftime, and Atlanta defender Franco Escobar held down the fort. Then-Orlando forward Dom Dwyer made a sliding effort to tie up the match, but Escobar’s crucial defensive clearance in the 6-yard box helped keep Atlanta on top.
30 minutes later, Escobar would be the one to find Hyndman around the penalty spot, who slotted it home and secured a spot in the 2019 US Open Cup Finals.
Who’s Your Daddy?
Ever since the stare-down with Orlando fans in the Sunshine State, Martínez and the 17s were always looking to have some fun against Orlando. The 17s coined Martínez as the “daddy” of the Lions, having scored eight goals against them in his career (those most he has scored against any club).
When the purple team traveled to Atlanta in 2021, the home supporters needed to let them know who was boss with a tifo that will go down in history.
More to Come
Atlanta United owns the all-time series against Orlando City, with an 8-3-5 record. The 5-Stripes look to add another three points against the purple team when they host on July 17th at 3:00 PM at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Get hyped for the match with the official Heineken Rivalry Week Soccer in the South Block Party. This epic event includes free beverages, live music, bar games, and live giveaways. RSVP today.
Be sure to be a part of the rivalry experience. Secure your spot today to the match.