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Atlanta United is back on the road to face Orlando City SC for a midweek match. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Sept. 14.

It’s the first of two road trips remaining on the regular season schedule for Atlanta United. Last time they were on the road, Atlanta dropped a result to Portland Timbers on September 4. But the 5-Stripes turned it around last weekend at home. Five years to the day that the club played its first match at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the team put on a memorable second half to defeat Toronto FC 4-2.

Picking up three points kept Atlanta United stay alive in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Entering Wednesday’s match, the club is five points below the playoff line. With just four matches remaining in the regular season for Atlanta United, every match, including Wednesday’s meeting with Orlando City, is a must-win.

"We’ve got to focus on playing football,” striker Dom Dwyer said. “Every game’s physical, every game is going to be a battle, and I think this one is going to be no different. Of course, both teams need three points. They need the points, so do we. So, we’ll go out there to win the game.”

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Another Round Of The Rivalry

Atlanta United holds a 7-3-6 all-time record against Orlando City SC and is 4-2-2 on the road. The teams split the series evenly in 2021, both sides earned a win and a draw. In the first eight meetings in the series, the 5-Stripes went unbeaten. Then, Orlando City took over and went unbeaten in the next six.

The previous meeting was in July for Heineken Rivalry Week. Orlando City gained the early lead in the 10th minute but, powered by the home crowd, Atlanta United answered. Center back Juanjo Purata scored his first career MLS goal to equalize the match in the 71st minute and each rival walked away with a hard-fought point.

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This time around, Atlanta United is the visiting side, and earning a result at Exploria Stadium won’t come easy. Orlando is unbeaten in its last four home matches against Atlanta United, so the 5-Stripes will be looking to break that run and earn a result.

"They’re a good side,” Dwyer said. “Obviously they just won the Open Cup, so they’ll be high on confidence and you don’t win those kinds of things by accident. They’re a good side. We’re playing a strong team. They’re ahead of us in the table. So, right now we need to get three points and get ourselves back up the table.”

2022 U.S. Open Cup Champions

Orlando City SC enters the match with an 12-11-6 record and 42 points in the Eastern Conference table, which puts Orlando above the playoff line in fifth place. In their last match, the Lions faltered in MLS play last week 5-1 to Eastern Conference leaders, Philadelphia Union. Before that outing, Orlando City had won four consecutive matches in MLS play.

Most recently on September 7, Orlando City won its first trophy. In the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, the Lions defeated Sacramento Republic 3-0. The championship qualifies Orlando City for competition in the 2023 Concacaf Champions League.

"We know what we’re facing and, in my opinion, I think our team understands the tactics that go against Orlando,” Atlanta United head coach Gonzalo Pineda said. “I’m hoping for a very good game for us and one where we can, again, try to dominate the game. That’s what we want to get out of the performance, a performance where we can control the game, control the tempo, create more and better chances than the opponent. And if we do that, I think we have more probabilities to win.”

Atlanta United Coming Off Strong Win

Heading into the midweek match, Atlanta United will be looking to do win consecutive matches for the first time this season. Atlanta will be looking to carry forward the exciting effort it put on the pitch in the second half against Toronto FC. The team picked up a crucial three points in a must-win game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium led by Purata’s record-setting second-half hat trick.

The team is playing good soccer, which it will need to do in the final weeks of the season to make a push for the playoffs. With just three-and-a-half weeks until Decision Day, the most important game for Atlanta United is the next one.

“In my opinion, every game is a must-win. I don’t think we have any margin for error,” midfielder Santiago Sosa said. “So, we’re going to try to win every game. We don’t have the luxury of drawing or losing a match at this point. We have to win all the games and the team has to make sure that we have nothing left, that we give everything we have. And that’s the image that we send.”

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Key 2022 Stats and League Ranking
Orlando City SC
Atlanta United
Possession
58.2% (1st)
51.6% (12th)
Pass Percentage
15.7 (1st)
11 (27th)
Expected Goals per 90 Minutes
52% (6th)
52.1% (5th)
Duel Percentage
242 (23rd)
304 (6th)

Players To Watch

Thiago Almada – Almada continues to show he’s a bright young star on Atlanta United’s roster. His goal against Toronto FC on Saturday gave Atlanta United the go-ahead goal. The stunning strike was also voted the MLS Goal of the Week, the second time he’s earned the award this season. Sitting on 11 assists, Almada is only the fifth Atlanta United player to record double-digit assists in a single season. The Argentinian has his eyes set on the single-season record of 14 held by Miguel Almirón and Julian Gressel.

Facundo Torres – The attacking midfielder from Uruguay has had a productive run for the Lions over the past month. He scored a brace in the U.S. Open Cup Final to lead Orlando City to its first championship. But Torres has also been good in MLS play. He’s tied for team leader in assists on the season (9) and has either a goal or an assist in four of the team’s previous five MLS matches.

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