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Orlando City vs Atlanta United FC: Five Takeaways

What did we learn from Orlando City’s 1-0 loss to Atlanta United FC?

MLS: Atlanta United FC at Orlando City SC Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Orlando City hosted Eastern Conference rival Atlanta United FC at Exploria Stadium in a midweek regular season match. The visitors came away with all three points, and Orlando City equaled its MLS home loss record, with eight now this season following the 1-0 loss. It was a match that could have gone either way, but unfortunately for the Lions, it ended in disappointment. What can we take away from Orlando City’s second loss in a row?

The Accountant Audits Araújo

Kyle Smith made one of the biggest plays of the first half when he cleared the ball off the goal line in the 37th minute. Luiz Araújo took a spot perfect through pass, rounded Pedro Gallese and put the ball on target. Unfortunately for Araújo, the Accountant had his number and was able to get his foot on the ball before it crossed the line. Smith seems to get a few of these goal line clearances every season, and this one was very well timed.

El Pulpo’s Excellent Effort

Former Lion Dom Dwyer slid a pass through Antônio Carlos’ legs to put Andrew Gutman in for a one-on-one opportunity against Gallese. Fortunately for Orlando City, El Pulpo saw it coming, came off his line, got big, and made a huge save in the first minute of first-half stoppage time. In a half in which the Lions seemed to have control of the match it was another individual effort that kept Atlanta from taking the lead.

Atlanta’s Almada Breaks Through

Thiago Almada is a dynamic young player for Atlanta United, and he made his impact felt with a goal in the 72nd minute. The match really opened up following the second half substitutions and Atlanta was pressing. Orlando City was dealing with repeated attacks, and Gallese made another excellent save seconds earlier, but the recycled ball came out to Almada. He sliced through the defense and left Carlos on the ground as he faked left and put the ball past Gallese.

An Absence of Quality Finishing

Orlando City attempted 20 shots, putting only three on target. Compare that to Atlanta’s 10 shots with five on target. Atlanta did a good job of crowding the box to make it difficult for the Lions to get quality shots off, but this looked more like the Orlando City from two months ago rather than the team’s more recent run of form. Even when Junior Urso or Tesho Akindele were able to get a header on the goal, it didn’t have enough pace or good enough placement to truly challenge Raúl Gudiño.

Lack of Depth Dooms the Lions

Óscar Pareja doesn’t have much choice other than to rotate his lineup. This was the third match in a week with another coming on Saturday. Wilder Cartagena started for an ill César Araújo, and despite a yellow, didn’t play poorly. However, he isn’t Araújo. Iván Angulo got the start and continued to impress as he has in his recent appearances. The problem was that Jake Mulraney came on for him in the second half. If you’re seeing a pattern here, that’s because there is one. The Lions are lacking depth, and when the fixtures are this congested, they can easily drop points that they can ill afford to drop.

That is what I saw during the match. What did you see? Let me know in the comments section below.