Match Preview: Atlanta United vs. Orlando City SC Saturday, July 17

Atlanta United closes out its homestand with a match against Orlando City SC for Heineken Rivalry Week. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. ET on Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. 

It’s the third consecutive match at home for Atlanta United. The homestand started with a tough loss to Austin FC. The 5-Stripes turned it around for a midweek meeting against Real Salt Lake and beat one of the top teams in the Western Conference 2-1.   

Now, Atlanta United faces a contest that carries a lot of weight. The club has history with Orlando City SC, the opponent on Sunday, and will look to make a statement during the nationally televised game for Heineken Rivalry Week. 

“Every point matters and when you are facing a rival like Orlando, you need to have an extra boost, you need to have a little extra fire inside you,” head coach Gonzalo Pineda said. “This is important for us and this is important for the fans. We cannot let the opponent enjoy being at our field.”

Atlanta United Unified Match  

Sunday also marks one of the biggest matches of the year for Atlanta United’s Special Olympics Unified Team. The Unified Team hosts Orlando City SC at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday, July 17. Kickoff is scheduled for approximately 6:00 p.m. with pregame coverage starting around 5:30 p.m., after the final whistle of the first team match. 

Looking Out For The Lions 

Orlando City SC is an Eastern Conference opponent based out of Florida. The club was announced as the 21st expansion side in MLS in 2013 and played its inaugural season in 2015. The club played in USL from 2010-2014, making it one of the few clubs, like FC Cincinnati, to begin its history as a USL team. 

The club has never won an MLS Cup. 

  • Home venue: Exploria Stadium, a soccer-specific stadium in downtown Orlando 
  • Main colors: Purple, gold, white 
  • Head coach: Oscar Pareja 

A Fierce Rivalry Calls For Extra Fire 

Orlando City SC enters the match with an 8-7-5 record and 29 points in the Eastern Conference table. The visiting side is in fifth place, five spots above Atlanta (23 points).  

Atlanta United owns the series between the two clubs and holds a 7-3-5 all-time record. The teams split the series evenly in 2021 with both teams getting one win plus a draw. The 5-Stripes went unbeaten in the first eight meetings before Orlando went unbeaten in the next six. 

Last time the two teams squared off was last September, Atlanta United shut out the visitors 3-0 in what was the first-ever Friday night match played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, a result Atlanta United looks to repeat on Sunday. 

“Of course Orlando comes with some history of the rivalry and of course we’re at home and we’re hungry right now,” midfielder Amar Sejdić said. “And we need to make up for points that we’ve lost in the past. So, I think we have good momentum going into the game and we just need to continue on.”

Campbell-Orlando-2021

Atlanta United Looking To Sustain Results 

Heading into Sunday’s match, Atlanta United will be looking to do something that hasn’t happened for the club since last September: win consecutive matches. In each of the team’s last 10 wins, the club has played to a draw four times and lost six, including the playoffs. 

The key for Atlanta United will be a matter of sustaining the collective effort it put on the pitch against Real Salt Lake. The team picked up a crucial three points in a must-win midweek game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium against a solid Western Conference opponent. Now, the team will try to repeat that success against their biggest rival. 

“Football’s a game of 11 guys on the field, so everybody needs to work together, everybody needs to trust each other that you’re going to be helped out in situations if you make a mistake or if they make a mistake, you cover for them,” Sejdić said. “Wednesday was a great example of that and it’s a great result and a great effort, a great fight. And we’ve got to keep it up into Sunday.” 

Key 2022 Stats and League Ranking
Atlanta United
Orlando City SC
Possession
58.5% (1st)
50.8% (12th)
Pass Percentage
85.2% (1st)
83.2% (9th)
Duel Percentage
52.8% (3rd)
54.6% (1st)

Players To Watch 

Ronaldo Cisneros – It was a good week for Cisneros, the striker on loan from Mexico. Cisneros scored a brace, his fifth and sixth goals for Atlanta United, in the win over Real Salt Lake on Wednesday. The next day, he earned a spot on the MLS Team of the Week. If Cisneros sees the field, expect him to look to continue his good run of form.  

Mauricio Pereyra– The designated player Uruguay joined Orlando City in 2019 and is having one of his best seasons for the Lions. The 32-year-old has tallied nine assists so far in 2021 for Orlando City, second-best in the league and one shy of tying his career high. He’ll be looking to add to his total by finding Ercan Kara, the attacker who leads Orlando City in goals this season (7).  

Other Tidbits 

  • Atlanta United will be wearing the BLVCK Kit on Sunday.