Game Preview: Rivalry Week continues as Orlando City hosts Atlanta United

Orlando Hate Weeeeeeeekkkkkkk

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Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports User Upload Caption: Jun 30, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta United forward Josef Martinez (7) reacts after scoring a goal past Orlando City goalkeeper Joseph Bendik (1) (blue) during the first half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

So Rivalry Week continues. We saw NYCFC and New York Red Bulls fight it out in a tough 1-1 draw in Yankee Stadium, can we expect the same for Orlando City vs. Atlanta United?

Probably not. Here in Atlanta, Rivalry Week is also known as Orlando Hate Week. We don’t even consider them to be rivals, to be honest. Orlando has never beaten Atlanta United, having lost three games and only being able to draw two. Being outscored 5 to 11 goals, it seems very unlikely that Orlando City can pull off three-points against Atlanta. Last time we met our “rivals” we won 4-0 in the Mercedes-Benz with a Miguel Almiron brace, Josef Martinez, and Ezequiel Barco also getting on the score sheet.

Now let’s talk about how both have done since they last faced off in June. Orlando City has only managed to gain 1 point since then, drawing 3-3 with New England. The highlight of Orlando’s two months is that they managed to get the best out of the washed up DC United striker Wayne Rooney in their last-gasp loss to DC United. Atlanta United, on the other hand, have been playing consistently well managing 14 points having won 4, drawing 2, and only losing 1 game against FC Dallas.

Atlanta United can line up a variety of ways. Last Sunday against Columbus Crew, we saw two different formations that Tata Martino used, a 4-1-4-1 and a 4-2-3-1. The return of McCann in the starting line up helped the backline become more balanced in the absence of Garza and Ambrose. When Atlanta United was on the attack it was a 4-1-4-1 with Tito Villaba and Eric Remedi playing centrally, Jeff Larentowicz playing in the number 5 role, with Gressel and Almiron out on the wing. When Atlanta United was defending, they created a 4-2-3-1. In this formation, Almiron and Villaba switched as Miguel Almiron went centrally, while Villa moved towards the left wing. Remedi dropped back to help Larentowicz defend in the midfield and help create counter-attack chances. Changing to a 4-3-2-1 also creates a spine between key players Guzan, Gonzalez-Pirez, Larentowicz, Almiron, Josef. By having this spine, the team is more balanced and can go on the attack much easier and quicker.

With NYFC and New York Red Bulls drawing yesterday, Atlanta United should take advantage and get all 3 point against Orlando City to pull even more forward in The Supporters Shield standings.

Predicted Line Up:

GK: Guzan

RB: Escobar

CB: Parkhurst and Gonzalez-Pirez

LB: McCann

CDM: Larentowicz

CM: Remedi and Villaba

LM: Almiron

RM: Gressel

ST: Martinez

Many people expect Barco to make a comeback in the starting XI, but with the excellent form of Villaba, Gressel, and Remedi, I doubt he will start.

Key Points to look at:

Josef Martinez breaking single-season goal record

Switching of Formations

How Orlando City will line up and play tactically against Atlanta

How the defense will contain Dom Dwyer and the Orlando City Attack

Will Ezequiel Barco get more playing time?

 

Staff Predictions:

Santi: 1-2, United win with a solid defensive outing with Josef breaking the record.

Dalton: 0-2, United Win

Kyle: 0-4, United Win

 

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