Atlanta United vs Orlando City SC: Preview and Prediction

Atlanta United play host to Orlando City on Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium to wrap up Matchday 4 of the 2024 MLS campaign.

After taking full advantage of a second opportunity to kick off their season, Atlanta United will face Orlando City at home on Sunday.

Following a lacklustre 1-0 defeat to Columbus Crew in their season opener, the Five Stripes found their groove last time out, pumping New England Revolution 4-1, with Thiago Almada opening the scoring from 12 yards in the first half before Giorgos Giakoumakis bagged a second-half hat-trick.

The hosts sit ninth in the Western Conference with three points from two games and will be looking to claim back-to-back wins on Monday. Meanwhile, Orlando City have struggled for results in what has been a busy start to the season, having already played seven games when counting CONCACAF Champions League commitments.

They are still searching for their first league victory of the 2024 MLS campaign, and were narrowly beaten 3-2 by Minnesota United in their last league outing. They also suffered a 4-2 away defeat against Mexican outfit Tigres UANL after trailing 2-0 a mere 20 minutes into the game on Tuesday.

As a result, the Lions were dumped out in a winner-take-all CONCACAF Champions Cup affair after the first match-up between the teams ended in a goalless draw at Orlando. The visitors will look to put things right with a victory here.

Team News & Tactics

Atlanta United

Derrick Etienne Jr. has an injured ankle and will be sidelined for at least four weeks. Derrick Williams is suffering from a light sickness and is questionable.

Defensive midfielder Dax McCarty made his first regular-season appearance for Atlanta United last weekend, and could retain his spot alongside Slisz here.

Edwin Mosquera made his first appearance of the 2024 season, replacing Saba Lobzhanidze in the dying embers of their game against New England, while Jamal Thiare also saw some action for the first time this season.

One of head coach Gonzalo Pineda’s main focuses coming into this season was to play their attacking style of play, no matter the opponent.

Atlanta showed the kind of force they can be behind the partnership of Giorgos Giakoumakis and Thiago Almada.

Giakoumakis, for one, was everywhere in the win against New England. He scored from the penalty spot, off a header from a Brooks Lennon dime, and through a sensational left-footed volley. He’s the sort of striker who doesn’t need a whole lot of chances or touches in the box to score.

If Almada & Co. continues to provide scoring opportunities for Giakoumakis, he will convert them and give the team a great chance to earn another three points at home.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Guzan; Lennon, Gregersen, Williams, Wiley; Slisz, McCarty; Mosquera, Almada, Silva; Giakoumakis

Orlando City SC

The last couple of games haven’t gone the way that Orlando City fans would have hoped for, but there’s no time to mull over as they look to get things back on track.

Orlando City will be sweating over the fitness of star attacker Facundo Torres, who will be doubtful for this game as he is experiencing some pain in his lower extremities, while Jack Lynn is a doubt with a lower leg issue.

Cesar Araujo and Wilder Cartagena may not be available either because of a right ankle injury and a red card suspension, respectively.

Despite scoring an own goal in midweek, Pedro Gellese will get a start in the net. The defensive line of Dagur Dan Thorhallsson, Jansson, Santos will join Schlegel in front of Gellese, while Felipe joins Araujo in the midfield.

Enrique, Angulo, and Martin Ojeda make up the attacking midfield, while statement signing Luis Muriel starts up top.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Gellese; Thorhallson, Schlegel, Jansson, Santos; Felipe, Araujo; Enrique, Ojeda, Angulo; Muriel

Key Stats

  • The hosts have lost just once in their past five games in this fixture.
  • In total, there have been 20 meetings between these two sides, with Atlanta holding the upper hand with nine victories, while the visitors have won four times. Other seven have resulted in draws.
  • Orlando are without a clean sheet in their last six games in this fixture.
  • The visitors also boast the joint-worst defensive record in the MLS this season, having conceded eight goals already.
  • The Five Stripes have not kept a clean sheet in their last three matches.

Player to Watch

Giorgos Giakoumakis

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Former Celtic star Giorgos Giakoumakis is loving life in America. The Greek international, who signed in February from the Scottish Premiership to ostensibly replace club legend Josef Martínez, tallied 17 goals and three assists in 27 games to finish third in the Golden Boot race last season.

He was named the 2023 MLS Newcomer of the Year for his exploits, while he netted his first career MLS hat trick in Atlanta’s 4-1 win over the New England Revolution on Saturday, ensuring a Mercedes-Benz Stadium party in front of 67,727 fans.

Giakoumakis first scored from the penalty spot in the 55th minute, then powered home a header five minutes later from Brooks Lennon’s cross. He then wrapped up the scoring barrage with a top-corner volley in the 74th minute. Looking to add to his season tally, he will cause Orlando all sorts of problems with his muscular, tall frame.


Atlanta United 2-0 Orlando City SC

The Lions face a confident Five Stripes side that performed admirably in their thumping 4-1 victory last week, and it’s questionable what Orlando’s strategy would be for this game right now, given their defensive flaws have been exposed in their last two domestic games.

The hosts clearly possess greater quality than the visitors, too, and that leads The Hard Tackle to predict a comfortable home win.

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