Media Availability

Gonzalo Pineda, Stian Gregersen on Orlando City SC matchup and building on a good start at home


Another weekend at Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the 5-Stripes. On Sunday, March 17, they will go head-to-head against Orlando City SC. The club is coming off a strong showing against the New England Revolution, with the help of a hat trick from MLS Player of the Matchday, Giorgos Giakoumakis

This week was all about focusing on building on the momentum of last week’s home opener. Head coach Gonzalo Pineda and newly signed defender Stian Gregersen spoke to local media on Friday to give their insight on how they hope Sunday’s matchup goes.

Gonzalo Pineda

Like the New England Revolution last week, Orlando City played a Concacaf Champions Cup match this week. When asked if that could be used as an advantage for the 5-Stripes, Pineda made sure to put the focus on just being ready for whatever Orlando has to offer.

“It can go both ways. Maybe they are a bit sharper, more in rhythm and ready to play. We will probably be fresher than them,” Pineda said. “Who knows, it is a long debate. But I prefer to think they will be at their very best, and we have to do the same.”

Orlando will also be missing midfielder Wilder Cartagena, but Pineda is not letting those circumstances color how he prepares his team for the match. He is also not relying on penalties to win a match. Atlanta scored twice on penalty kicks last game.

“We do not talk about making penalties per se,” he said. “What we talk about is trying to create as many actions in the final third, as well as the movements in the final third… we were lucky this game, we got two penalties. We cannot only rely on penalties. We have to make plays from the run of play.”

Pineda spoke highly of one of the new faces on the 2024 roster. Norwegian international defender, Stian Gregersen, was signed during the offseason through the 2027 MLS season with an option for 2028. Gregersen’s first appearances in MLS were both starts. The center back played a full 90 minutes for Atlanta United in the season opener in Columbus and the home opener last weekend.

“He has been very good,” Pineda said. “He has been growing in his confidence. We know the characteristics that he has – he is a very good player. I think you are going to see better and better from him.”

Stian Gregersen

Gregersen, like his coach, sees improvement and things to work on for the club. The defender’s play is characterized by being persistent on the ball, and he wants to continue to improve as the season starts to pick up.

“I think I am doing okay. Of course, I can do better. Everyone can do better,” he said. “We work on it every day on the pitch. The last game was good. The results were very good, but we can do better.”

To get better, especially for the newer players, there is an acclimation period to go through that includes getting used to calling Mercedes-Benz Stadium home. It is no secret that Atlanta United thrive while playing at home. Last weekend, the team went on to win big 4-1 in front of the third-largest crowd in the world on Saturday, March 9.


The win marked the first time Gregersen experienced playing a home match at Mercedes-Benz Stadium as he made his home debut. When asked, he expressed his excitement over the electric setting.

“It was exactly how people said it would be. It was a fantastic atmosphere,” said Gregersen. “I had never played in front of so many people. 67,700 people is a lot. Like I said earlier, without fans, futbol would be boring. So, I enjoyed that moment very much.”

The club looks to continue using that home magic to their advantage on Sunday.

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.