Orlando City vs. Atlanta United: Preview, How to Watch, TV Info, Live Stream, Lineups, Match Thread, and More



Welcome to your match thread for a Wednesday evening match-up between Orlando City (12-11-6, 42 points) and Atlanta United (9-12-9, 36 points) at Exploria Stadium (6 p.m., FOX 35 Plus). It’s the second of the two scheduled meetings between the two MLS Eastern Conference rivals this season and the only one in Orlando.

Here’s what you need to know ahead of today’s match.


The Lions are 3-7-6 in the all-time series against Atlanta in league play and 2-4-2 at home (2-5-2 in all competitions). The sides played to a 1-1 draw in their first meeting of the year back on July 22 in Atlanta. Mauricio Pereyra staked the Lions to a 1-0 lead just 10 minutes in on a beautiful free kick. Juan Jose Purata equalized in the 71st minute but Atlanta bombarded Orlando the majority of the game and completely controlled the midfield, out-shooting the Lions 18-3 in the match.

Orlando had a six-match unbeaten streak in the series (3-0-3) snapped in the previous meeting, in which the Five Stripes won 3-0 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sept. 10, 2021. George Campbell and Ezequiel Barco scored for Atlanta, sandwiched around a Daryl Dike own goal to hand Gonzalo Pineda his first win as manager for United.

The second of three 2021 meetings took place July 30 at Exploria Stadium, with the Five Stripes taking the lead twice on goals by Josef Martinez and Marcelino Moreno, but the Lions not only fought back twice on strikes by Kyle Smith and Silvester van der Water, but Nani scored a late game winner by heading in VDW’s cross in Orlando City’s 3-2 win. The first meeting of the season between the two rivals came on opening day — April 17 — and they played to a 0-0 draw. It was an evenly matched game, with each team firing 11 shots and getting three on frame.

The final meeting of 2020 came on Oct. 28, when Orlando City ran away with a 4-1 win over Atlanta at Exploria Stadium. Dike, Chris Mueller, Tesho Akindele, and Matheus Aias — his first in MLS — scored the goals for the Lions, with Cubo Torres preventing a shutout with an 87th-minute goal for the visitors. Prior to that, the teams met in Atlanta on Oct. 7, 2020 and played to a 0-0 draw. Robinho and Nani each hit the woodwork and Brad Guzan stood on his head to prevent Orlando from taking a deserved three points in that one, while Brian Rowe held down the fort at the other end to earn a shutout in Pedro Gallese’s absence.

Back on Sept. 5, 2020, a late, unforced turnover by Kamal Miller led to Adam Jahn’s 92nd-minute tying goal that offset a Benji Michel goal in a 1-1 draw at Exploria Stadium. Orlando City finally got on the board in the series against Atlanta United with a 3-1 win on the road on Aug. 29, 2020. Junior Urso, Mueller, and Nani supplied the offense to more than counter a Brooks Lennon headed goal. That three-goal explosion snapped a three-match scoreless streak against the Five Stripes for Orlando.

Orlando City created an incredible 17 scoring chances on Aug. 23, 2019, yet finished none of them in a 1-0 home loss. Martinez scored the game’s only goal in the second half. Only 17 days earlier at Exploria Stadium, Orlando also failed to score and lost 2-0, getting bounced from the U.S. Open Cup in the semifinals. On Mother’s Day of 2019, Atlanta United claimed a 1-0 win at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Pity Martinez scored the goal.

Atlanta won at the building then known as Orlando City Stadium on Aug. 24, 2018 by a 2-1 final score. Leandro Gonzalez Pirez bundled home a rebound off Joe Bendik, who misplayed Barco’s free kick to open the scoring just 21 minutes in. Scott Sutter tied the game just before the half, but Josef Martinez broke the deadlock in the second half, with only 16 minutes remaining in normal time.

Atlanta easily claimed the June 30, 2018 meeting at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, 4-0. Josef Martinez and Barco each scored a goal and Miguel Almiron added a brace. Orlando lost the first match-up of 2018, 2-1, on May 13. An early penalty on a Cristian Higuita foul gave the visitors a leg up on a Josef Martinez goal from the spot and Barco doubled the lead before halftime. Justin Meram scored his first goal as a Lion to pull one back, but Orlando could get no closer. The unfortunate ending included a shower of debris coming out of the stands due to dissatisfaction with referee Alan Kelly’s decisions that night.

Hector Villalba’s two late goals in the first two meetings turned what could have been an Orlando draw and a win into a loss and a draw. The two teams kicked off their series with Orlando suffering a late 1-0 loss at home on July 21, 2017. Villalba found the net in the 86th minute to ruin what was a pretty good performance by the Lions, despite the dearth of goals. Villalba then scored a stoppage-time tally to rescue a 1-1 draw for Atlanta in the second meeting on July 29, 2017. Kaká scored one of his best goals as a Lion in that match to provide Orlando’s lone score.

Orlando City became the first visiting team to take any points out of Mercedes-Benz Stadium with a 3-3 draw in Atlanta that September. Dom Dwyer scored his first brace as a Lion (in MLS, anyway) and also assisted on Cyle Larin’s goal. Josef Martinez’s hat trick spoiled Orlando’s bid to take all three points.


Orlando is coming off a horrific 5-1 loss in Philadelphia on Saturday. The Lions played the Eastern Conference toe-to-toe until a fluky own goal off Joao Moutinho changed the energy in the game and the Union romped from there. It was always going to be a difficult task playing in Philly a couple of days after an emotional win in the U.S. Open Cup final a week ago. The loss snapped a five-game winning streak in all competitions. The Lions have to put Saturday out of their minds and buckle down for the final five games to qualify for the postseason. Orlando’s season is on a knife edge, with a home playoff round within reach but qualification also still far from assured, and the Lions will face a desperate Five Stripes tonight.

A loss wouldn’t drive the final nail into Atlanta’s playoff aspirations but it would be quite damaging as the Five Stripes would have only three matches remaining and at least a five-point deficit to overcome. Atlanta is coming off a vital 4-2 home win over Toronto FC in a key Eastern Conference playoff battle that allowed tonight’s visitors to leap over TFC in the standings. Purata scored the rare defender hat trick in the match and he’ll be a player the Lions will need to mark well as a lapse in concentration on a set piece in the earlier meeting led to Atlanta’s tying goal.

The Five Stripes are just 1-9-5 on the road this season but will be confident coming into a building where they have had success (and where Orlando is just 7-7-0 this season). Atlanta is 0-8-5 in its last 13 away matches.

Atlanta has an aggressive offense that gets forward into the attack. That leads to a lot of shots and scoring opportunities but the team has been vulnerable to the counter. It will be imperative for Orlando to do a better job controlling the midfield than it did in its earlier trip to Atlanta, where it was overrun in the middle of the pitch for the final 80+ minutes after scoring the game’s first goal.

Orlando has not shown itself to be a particularly dangerous transition team most of the season but lately the Lions have been better with the emergence of Facundo Torres. The Lions will need to take advantage of the counter whenever possible. Orlando City will also need to shore up the wide areas on defense. Atlanta will get a boost from the return of Josef Martinez, who was suspended for the Toronto match for conduct detrimental to the team.

Martinez leads Atlanta in goals (8) and has added four assists on the year. Ronaldo Cisneros is just behind with seven goals, with the surprising Purata at six. Thiago Almada is Atlanta’s most dangerous setup man, with 11 assists this year, but Brooks Lennon and Marcelino Moreno can also set up goals and are the next two on the club in that category with seven and six, respectively.

“We have been preparing the last two days for Atlanta, obviously with the short period of time in between the games,” Head Coach Oscar Pareja said in his pre-match press conference. “After the emotional game against Sacramento and the emotional game in Philadelphia in which we didn’t have a good night, we are just leaving all of that behind and concentrating on this one game. This is very important for our standing in the league. We have a rival that is obviously a competitor for those positions, just like we are. Important game. We are good and the team is in a good mood. I saw them fresh in the training, so we are optimistic.” 

“They have a good attack, a lot of quick guys in their attack, good depth at striker,” Orlando defender Kyle Smith said ahead of the match. “The (team’s) mentality is it’s another final for us. Every game from here on out is a final because every point matters at this point, so we can get that home playoff game.”

Orlando City will be without Alexandre Pato (knee) and Joey DeZart (knee), with Robin Jansson (lower leg) still listed as questionable. Meanwhile, Atlanta has been dealing with a lot of injuries. Ozzie Alonso (torn ACL), Dylan Castanheira (achilles), Brad Guzan (achilles), Miles Robinson (achilles), and Emerson Hyndman (quad) are all listed as out, while Matheus Rossetto (ankle) is questionable.

Mandatory Match Content

Official Lineups

Orlando City (4-2-3-1)

Goalkeeper: Pedro Gallese.

Defenders: Joao Moutinho, Rodrigo Schlegel, Antonio Carlos, Kyle Smith.

Defensive Midfielders: Wilder Cartagena, Mauricio Pereyra.

Attacking Midfielders: Ivan Angulo, Junior Urso, Facundo Torres.

Bench: Mason Stajduhar, Ruan, Michael Halliday, Thomas Williams, Andres Perea, Jake Mulraney, Nicholas Gioacchini, Benji Michel, Tesho Akindele.

Forward: Ercan Kara.

Atlanta United (4-3-3)

Goalkeeper: Raul Gudino.

Defenders: Andrew Gutman, Alan Franco, Juan Jose Purata, Ronald Hernandez.

Midfielders: Thiago Almada, Santiago Sosa, Amar Sejdic.

Forwards: Luiz Araujo, Dom Dwyer, Brooks Lennon.

Bench: Rocco Rios Novo, George Campbell, Caleb Wiley, Franco Ibarra, Matheus Rossetto, Marcelino Moreno, Edwin Mosquera, Ronaldo Cisneros, Josef Martinez.


Ref: Rubiel Vazquez.

AR1: Jose Da Silva.

AR2: Logan Brown.

4th: Marcos DeOliveira.

VAR: Allen Chapman.

AVAR: Peter Balciunas.

How to Watch

Match Time: 6 p.m.

Venue: Exploria Stadium — Orlando.

TV: FOX 35 Plus (local only).

Radio:  FM 96.9 The Game (English), Accion 97.9 and 810 AM (Spanish).

Streaming: The match can be streamed on ESPN+ (out of market only) and on the LionNation app (in market only).

Twitter: For rapid reaction and live updates, follow along at @TheManeLand, as well as Orlando City’s official Twitter feed (@OrlandoCitySC).

Enjoy the match. Go City!

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