Atlanta United and Orlando City face off once again for their second matchup in two weeks, this time on Atlanta’s home turf. Atlanta (10-7-3) are hoping to continue their hot streak and grab a sixth consecutive home win, while Orlando (8-8-5) are looking for revenge against their northern neighbors after suffering a last-minute heartbreaker in Orlando last Friday.
It will be a bittersweet night as Saturday marks the last Atlanta United match in Bobby Dodd Stadium before the MLS expansion side make the move to their true home at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The match is sold out for the ninth time in a row, but if you didn’t get a ticket don’t worry, you can catch all the action starting at 5:00 p.m. EST on FOX or via FOX Sports Go.
Atlanta United (10-7-3)
Atlanta United have taken the league by storm and exceeded expectations as a first-year MLS expansion side. ATL UTD have won five out of their last six matches and have hit quite the hot streak at home looking for their sixth consecutive win at Bobby Dodd Stadium this weekend. If Atlanta can defeat Orlando on Saturday, they will match the second-longest win streak by an expansion side in league history.
With a league-leading 40 goals on the season, Atlanta’s front line boasts one of the most dangerous attacks in all of MLS. After Tito Villalba’s 30-yard screamer to steal the win in Orlando last weekend, the Argentine is now tied for the team lead with nine on the season. Atlanta’s other leading goal scorer, Josef Martinez, will be unavailable to face Orlando due to injury, but with a healthy Miguel Almirón, Yamil Asad and Julian Gressel, who have a combined 13 goals and 23 assists this season, the expansion side will have plenty of firepower to threaten the Lions.
The attacking stars aren’t the only Atlanta United players in form, with the defense only allowing two goals in four matches, recording clean sheets in three of them. In their most recent shut out, goalkeeper Brad Guzan made his first appearance in goal for the club, performing brilliantly and proving why he has 57 caps for his country. The U.S. international tallied five saves, including a crucial diving effort in goal that secured all three points and rightfully earned the MLS Save of the Week honor.
Orlando City (8-8-5)
After winning six of their first seven league games, Orlando have now only earned two in their last 14 and have particularly struggled on the road with only two victories all season. However, despite the disappointing 1-0 result from last weekend, Orlando showed glimpses of impressive play, are still in the playoff conversation just below the cutoff line and added an extremely valuable asset this week.
On Tuesday, Orlando announced a high-profile signing: Sporting KC forward Dom Dwyer. The newly-capped U.S. International makes an official return to Orlando after being loaned to the club in their USL days in 2013. He scored 15 goals in 13 games in that time, including four in the USL Pro Championship game that helped the Lions capture their second USL Pro title. More recently, he’s been a vital piece to Sporting KC’s attack over the last few seasons, scoring 57 regular season goals, tied for fourth-most in MLS since 2012.
Dwyer’s arrival isn’t the only positive change for Orlando heading into round two against Atlanta. The Lions’ leading goal-scorer Cyle Larin had just returned from international duty with Canada, so he only subbed on for the last 30 minutes of the match last Friday. With a full game from Larin as well as Dwyer, Kaka and Rivas joining him on the field, Orlando City will be a force to be reckoned with as they seek revenge against the expansion side.
Listen & Watch – Saturday, July 29 | 5:00 p.m. EST
- FOX Sports GO