It’s been just a sole week since Atlanta United’s first ever loss to Orlando City, but that tally may double almost immediately. The Five Stripes and Orlando reunite at Exploria Stadium Saturday night, just Atlanta’s second away game of the season and first since the restart.
A 0-0 midweek draw versus Inter Miami was all that the scoreline said it was. Stephen Glass’ side totaled a record-breaking expected goals of .51, in part thanks to the absence of Pity Martinez. The Argentine is on his way out of Atlanta under two years after arriving, and Saudi Arabia is on the horizon. This leaves the club with very little in the way of proven scoring options on the field. Atlanta does boast the 4th best defense in the league, however, having conceded just 8 goals this season. As we’ve learned with that string of 1-0 losses, that doesn’t matter if you can’t score and Atlanta doesn’t seem capable of doing that anytime soon.
Orlando, on the other hand, finds itself in a quite unusual spot in the standings, in 3rd. Oscar Pareja has instilled a clear identity into a very well rounded side, and that’s shown on the pitch. A Wednesday draw with Nashville could be put down to the resting of multiple key players, which does not bode well for Atlanta considering what a rotated Orlando did to them in the 3-1 loss.
Predicted Starting XIs
Prediction: Orlando City 3-0 Atlanta United
Daryl Dike (3g), Chris Muller (6g, 3a), and Nani (3g, 2a) are certain to cause Atlanta’s back four issues, and its more of matter of who will get on the scoresheet than if they will. I wouldn’t be surprised if Atlanta control possession as they have done in 7 out of 8 games this season, but that’s where Atlanta having the majority of something will stop. Orlando ease to a multi-goal victory.