The picture above says it all as to who came out victorious on Friday night between Atlanta United and Orlando City down in Disneyland. A hot and muggy evening down south could not stop Atlanta’s continued and repeated dominance of Orlando as the 5-Stripes came away with a 1-0 victory all thanks to Josef Martinez’s goal in the 60th minute. Both teams had tons of chances to score throughout the entire 90 minutes especially Orlando, I could not believe some of the easy chances they should have scored with ease only to be saved by United GK Brad Guzan or to be put wide of the frame, but only Orlando can do that right? To start off the match recap lets rewind to the 10th minute when Tesho Akindele had a one on one chance with Guzan to give Orlando the lead after beating out Miles Robinson to the ball and to everyone’s amazement his embarrasing and weak low taken shot was easily saved by Guzan and out for a corner kick, an unbelievable miss and one that should have given Orlando the early lead, but that is only just the first of many to come. Soon after the chance, Orlando won a corner and as the corner was driven into the box Orlando defender Ludovic Sane won a header towards goal but was tipped over the bar by Guzan and out for another corner kick. In the 24th minute Atlanta got their first big chance of the match when Pity Martinez took a low driven shot outside of the box that just barely went wide of the post nearly giving United the lead. Six minutes later another chance came for United when Barco had an opportunity to open the scoring with his effort but was denied by a slight deflection off the defender which landed into the hands of Orlando’s GK.
On to the 2nd half where we transition to the 60th minute when off a counter attack all the way from Atlanta’s side of the field began with a pass from Barco towards Josef and as both players sprinted down the field Martinez passes back to Barco’s feet and almost immediately with a nice pass back to Josef, the king struck with an accurate and precise curling finish towards the far right side of the goal, giving the good guys the 1-0 lead. Five minutes later Orlando would have another opportunity to get on the score sheet but once again came up short as Carlos Ascues’s shot went wide of the left post and off the side netting. Once again not even a minute later Akindele had another one on one with goalie Brad Guzan but as the same story went on through the match he missed wide of the goal, at that point Orlando were just doomed. Josef Martinez would also get an opportunity to double the lead for United beginning with a nice through ball by Pity Martinez leaving Josef one on one with the goalie, unluckily his fancy chip shot over the goalie when off the post and his rebound effort went sailing over the bar, a rare and unfortunate miss by the King. In the 80th minute substitue Tito Villalba intercepted a poor pass by Orlando’s goalie and without hesitation gave the ball toward a wide open Josef Martinez in the box, but the goalie was well aware and handled the situation well by saving Josef’s shot with a sliding effort to block his path making up for his miscue just seconds before. In those last 10 minutes and stoppage time Atlanta United would hold on to pick up a key 3 points down in Orlando staying a top 1st place of the Eastern Conference Standings.
With all that said, another Cup Final showdown awaits for us at the Benz on Tuesday, August 27th against Minnesota United. A battle of the 2017 MLS expansion teams in the oldest soccer tournament in the United States. The U.S. Open Cup Final will be on Tuesday, August 27th at Mercedes-Benz Stadium and live on ESPN+ at 8 PM. VAMOS UNITED!
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Edin Pelja |@Julio_Goat Twitter | @ATLSportsHQ Twitter/IG