Atlanta United’s run of dominance over Orlando City SC has come to an end. The Five Stripes were 7-2-0 against the Lions prior to last Saturday’s 3-1 home loss, but the worst season in the club’s short history continues to reach new lows. Meanwhile, Orlando City are putting together their best season since joining the MLS in 2015. The Lions had never finished better than seventh in the Eastern Conference prior to 2020, but they nearly won the MLS is Back Tournament, and they are currently sitting in third place with a 4-3-2 record this year. A second victory over the club that has demoralized them for the last four years would wipe away a little more of the heartache that fans have endured.
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MLS Betting Odds at BookMaker.eu
Orlando City SC -101
Atlanta United FC +263
Over/Under 2.5 and 3
It’s been an awful year for Atlanta United. The 2018 MLS Cup champions are likely going to miss out on the playoffs for the first time in their history, and this is the first year they haven’t been among the top contenders since they entered the league. The Five Stripes are 3-1-4 headed into this weekend’s clash with Orlando City despite being placed in a pod with expansion teams Inter Miami and Nashville SC.
Atlanta defeated Nashville and second-year club FC Cincinnati in its first two games of the season before everything came to a screeching halt. The offense has looked out of sorts since that point, being shut out four times in six games between the three MLS is Back Tournament games and the resumed regular season. Their lone goal against Orlando City last week came in the 83rd minute when Brooks Lennon headed home his first career goal with the club.
Orlando City were the breakout team of the tournament. The Lions looked set to endure another dreadful season after an 0-1-1 start, but they put it all together at the MLS is Back Tournament, knocking off New York City FC, the Montreal Impact, Los Angeles FC, and Minnesota United FC before falling to the Portland Timbers in the finals of the tournament. The Lions are 2-1-1 over the last two weeks, losing to Inter Miami but knocking off Nashville and Atlanta United.
Josef Martinez tore his ACL in Atlanta’s season opener, effectively crippling this team’s offense. Martinez has been an absolutely lethal scorer since joining the Five Stripes, bagging 82 goals in 92 games with the club, and he set the single season scoring record in 2018. It’s impossible to replace his production, and that has stifled this team’s attack. Fernando Meza has been ruled out for this game too, while Emerson Hyndman is questionable.
The Lions won’t have Dom Dwyer available due to a knee injury, and defender Joao Moutinho is questionable to play with a groin injury. Moutinho was Orlando City’s saving grace with his 90th minute goal against LAFC, so the club is hoping he can take the pitch.
Player to Watch
Nani has had a breakout season for Orlando City. He was instrumental to the team’s strong showing in the MLS bubble in July, and he is going to be well-rested ahead of this match. Nani came off the bench against Atlanta United last week, and he didn’t make the trip to Nashville so he could be fresh for Saturday night’s game.
Free Soccer Betting Pick
Both Mauricio Pereyra and Nani have received considerable rest in the last week, and that will be key for the Lions here. Look for the two midfielders to have their way with Atlanta in another win for Orlando City.
Major League Soccer Odds: Orlando City SC 2, Atlanta United FC 1
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