Welcome to your match thread for tonight’s match-up between Orlando City (8-7-5, 29 points) and Atlanta United (9-7-3, 30 points) at Orlando City Stadium. It’s the first of three scheduled meetings between the Eastern Conference rivals this season and the first ever clash between the two teams located in the Southeastern U.S.
Just one point separates the two sides in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference standings, with Atlanta in fourth place, just ahead of the Lions.
There is a lot of ties between the teams, starting with Atlanta United Director of Soccer Operations Paul McDonough. He served as Orlando City’s first MLS general manager in 2015 before leaving the Lions in the December between the club’s first two MLS seasons. He landed on his feet in Atlanta after departing due to the hilariously short-lived Armando Carneiro era (boy, don’t we miss those days?). Former Lions Bryan Rochez and Harrison Heath were scooped up by McDonough for Atlanta although the latter has gone on loan with Sacramento Republic. Rochez has not played a game for Atlanta — either with the first team or with affiliate Charleston.
Defender Mikey Ambrose was also picked up by McDonough and he has seen the field for 17 minutes in 2017.
If you’re looking for trends, Atlanta has won its last three matches and is 3-5-3 on the road. Orlando City is 6-2-3 at home but has only won once at Orlando City Stadium in the last four (1-1-2) and is 1-2-3 in its last six games overall.
Orlando City will be without striker Cyle Larin, who is on Gold Cup duty with Canada, and right back Rafael Ramos (hamstring). However, Cristian Higuita returns from yellow card suspension. Atlanta will not have forwards Jacob Peterson (lower leg injury) and Kenwyne Jones (knee inflammation) or goalkeeper Alec Kann (left quad injury).
Here's your mandatory match content for tonight:
- Gavin Ewbank has your match preview and prediction.
- Our Intelligence Report gives us more about the Five Stripes from Haris Kruskic from SB Nation’s Atlanta United blog, Dirty South Soccer.
- This week's PawedCast includes our key match-ups and more predictions, plus we exchanged a little banter with Eric Quintana from the Mouths of the South podcast.
Orlando City (4-4-2)
Goalkeeper: Joe Bendik.
Defenders: Scott Sutter, Jose Aja, Jonathan Spector, Donny Toia.
Midfielders: Kaká, Antonio Nocerino, Cristian Higuita, Will Johnson.
Forwards: Giles Barnes, Carlos Rivas.
Bench: Josh Saunders, Leo Pereira, Tommy Redding, Servando Carrasco, Luis Gil, Cyle Larin, Richie Laryea.
Atlanta United (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Brad Guzan.
Defenders: Greg Garza, Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, Michael Parkhurst, Anton Walkes.
Defensive Midfielders: Carlos Carmona, Jeff Larentowicz.
Attacking Midfielders: Yamil Asad, Miguel Almiron, Julian Gressel.
Forwards: Hector Villalba.
Bench: Kyle Reynish, Mikey Ambrose, Tyrone Mears, Chris McCann, Brandon Vazquez, Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu, Andrew Carleton.
Ref: Jose Carlos Rivero.
AR1: Jeffrey Greeson.
AR2: Brian Poeschel.
4th: Boboucarr Jallow.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7 p.m. ET.
Venue: Orlando City Stadium — Orlando, FL.
TV: ESPN, ESPN Deportes.
Radio: 104.1 FM Real Radio (English), La Nueva 990 (Spanish).
Streaming: Watch ESPN.
Match Thread Rules
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Enjoy the match!