After suffering their worst defeat of the 2022 MLS regular season, Orlando City return to Exploria Stadium on Wednesday with a chance to extend their home winning streak to four matches in all competitions when they host Atlanta United.
Over the weekend, the reigning U.S. Open Cup champions were beaten handily, 5-1 by the Philadelphia Union, while the Five Stripes ended a two-game losing streak by beating Toronto 4-2.
Days after capturing the first trophy in club history, beating Sacramento Republic FC 3-0 in the U.S. Open Cup Final, the Lions were the latest side to fall victim to the deadly Union attack.
While they are not the only team to be destroyed by the Supporters’ Shield leaders this season, that defeat put a damper on what has been an impressive stretch of results for this side, who had won five consecutive matches in all competitions before they had to face Philly.
Oscar Pareja saw his players show plenty of poise for the opening half hour of that contest on Saturday, but an own goal from Joao Moutinho seemed to knock the stuffing out of them, and the Union took advantage, going up 4-0 beyond the hour mark and cruising to another comfortable three points.
Throughout 2022, the Lions have consistently found a way to earn points despite their attacking deficiencies, winning 10 matches this season by a single goal all while scoring the joint fourth-fewest goals among Eastern Conference clubs.
Andres Perea scored his second goal of the season in all competitions for Orlando on Saturday, as both of his tallies have come against the Union, while Junior Urso picked up his third assist of the year.
Facundo Torres has three goals in his last two home matches in all competitions, including a brace in their U.S. Open Cup triumph last week, with the other tally last Wednesday coming courtesy of Benji Michel.
Mason Stajduhar made his second start in goal for the Lions last weekend, replacing Pedro Gallese, while Jake Mulraney, Wilder Cartagena, Perea, Nicholas Gioacchini and Michel all drew into the starting lineup after being relegated to the bench versus Sacramento Republic.
Robin Jansson is questionable with a right lower leg problem, Jack Lynn has an issue with his left thigh, while Alexandre Pato and Joey DeZart are both out with right knee injuries.
Orlando City possible starting lineup:
Gallese; Moutinho, Schlegel, Carlos, Ruan; Pereyra, Cartagena; Mulraney, Perea, Akindele; Kara
Atlanta United possible starting lineup:
Gudino; Hernandez, Purata, Franco, Gutman; Sejdic, Sosa, Almada; Lennon, Dwyer, Araujo
Orlando City vs Atlanta United: prediction
We say: Orlando City 2-0 Atlanta United
Losing in the manner Orlando did last weekend might be demoralising if it were anyone besides Philly, who have made it a routine of trouncing their opponents this season.
Atlanta are a different team away from home as they struggle to create much, while the Lions have managed to find various ways to win matches in 2022, and we believe Pareja will be able to put together an intelligent game plan to help his side earn another three points at home.
Orlando City vs Atlanta United: where to watch?
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