One of the hardest matches of the season had an outcome that may have surprised even Orlando City SC’s fans as the Lions managed to get a 3-3 draw with expansion franchise Atlanta United at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. What did the hard-fought and fun match show us?
Atlanta United was eager to celebrate one more win in front of their fans in the brand new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Having won the first two matches in its new home by scoring 10 goals while conceding none, the expansion franchise dragged 70,425 fans to the game, breaking the all-time MLS attendance record. However, Orlando showed great determination and, even with multiple absences, became the first visiting franchise to score and to steal points at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Playing his seventh match for Orlando City since his return to the club, Dom Dwyer finally scored for the Lions. And he did it not once, but twice, both times using his great positioning to head crosses from Donny Toia and Scott Sutter to the back of the net. Dwyer also set Cyle Larin up on the third goal, meaning he either scored or assisted on four of the Lions’ five goals over the last two games.
Larin is on Fire Again
Speaking about Larin, the Canadian striker seems to be finding his best form again as the season nears its end. After a hot start, scoring six goals in the same number of games, the 22-year-old forward had ups and downs, also struggling off the field with a DUI arrest. After the storm, Larin scored in each of the last three matches and is showing his best game again.
Orlando is not particularly strong in the air, but the team was clinical against Atlanta United, scoring all of its three goals through headers. The strong aerial game helped the Lions to tie a game where the team had less possession (38%-62%) and shots (10-17) than its rival. It obviously helped that Atlanta’s 6-foot-1 center back Leandro González Pirez did not play, but please do not forget to thank Brad Guzan properly for the tremendous help on Dwyer’s second goal.
The bad news of the night comes from Jonathan Spector. The veteran center back returned to action after missing the last five matches because of a knee injury but it did not last, as he had physical problems and had to leave the game, being replaced by Leo Pereira at the 59th minute. During his time on the field, Spector notched seven clearances, two tackles and one interception.