The rivalry between Atlanta United and Orlando City started out with Atlanta dominating for the first few years of the fixture. However, in the last year the tide has turned and Orlando dominated the rivalry during the 2020 season. Both sides started the MLS season by playing to a 0-0 draw with each other at Exploria Stadium on April 17th. However, the clubs’ seasons have been complete opposites of each other. Orlando currently sits 3rd in the Eastern Conference on 25 points, while Atlanta sits 10th in the Eastern Conference on 14 points. Both sides will be without many key players due to injuries and international duty. Atlanta will be without their captain Brad Guzan, defender Miles Robinson, and defender George Bello. Ezequiel Barco will also miss the match on Friday night. Barco was with Argentina at the Olympics in Tokyo, but Argentina suffered a surprise defeat on Wednesday which sent them out of the Olympics. It would be nearly impossible for Barco to be available for the match against Orlando however, there is a chance that Barco will be available for Atlanta’s match in Montreal on August 4th. Mo Adams, Emerson Hyndman, and Jake Mulraney will also miss this match due to injury.
Orlando will be without Daryl Dike as he will be with Brad Guzan, Miles Robinson, and George Bello at the Gold Cup with the USMNT. Orlando will also be without Tesho Akindele as he is also at the Gold Cup, but with Canada who will face Mexico for a spot in the Gold Cup Final on August 1st. Alexandre Pato is questionable for the match against Atlanta United after he was sidelined for multiple nights after suffering an injury in the opening match of the season against Atlanta United. Orlando fans will be happy to see the return of Mauricio Pereyra after his suspension. Orlando recently signed left back Emmanuel Mas on a free transfer from Boca Juniors. With the Wilf family becoming owners of Orlando City the club is looking like it is about new enter a bright new era.
Atlanta is currently on the back of a 10 match winless streak. Orlando is coming off the worst result of their season after a 5-0 loss to NYCFC. Atlanta currently leads the series with seven wins five draws and two losses against Orlando. I think that the first half will be back and forth, but nobody will score and it will be 0-0 at the break. Orlando will score through a Nani penalty and Atlanta will get a late equalizer through a Jurgen Damm goal.
Prediction: 1-1 draw