Orlando City SC will puts its franchise-best win streak on the line Sunday against a salty Atlanta United squad that will be without their starting goalkeeper and two key defenders.
Orlando City (6-2-1) has won six in a row to climb into third place on the Eastern Conference table. The Lions know that first-place Atlanta (7-2-1) will be their toughest test this year.
“It’s massively critical for us this game that we are very mindful of the fact that they’re extremely dangerous in transition,” Orlando City coach Jason Kreis told reporters. “[Atlanta has] a lot of very, very good attacking-minded players, creative-type players that can do it on the dribble, can do it in combination. It will be our most severe test to date, no doubt about it.”
United is coming off their first loss — 2-0 at home to Sporting Kansas City — since the opening game. Atlanta keeper Brad Guzan was issued a red card against Sporting KC and is suspended for Sunday’s game against Orlando City.
United is also without backup keepers Alec Kann and Mitch Hildebrandt, both with left knee injuries. Paul Christensen, who was just signed last week and forced into action against Sporting KC after Guzan was sent off, will be back in goal for United against a dynamic Orlando City attack.
In addition, Atlanta defender Franco Escobar has been ruled out and Chris McCann is listed as questionable.
“Orlando has some dynamic players,” Atlanta coach Tata Martino said. “ Dwyer, Kljestan, Meram ... They’re good with their feet. They’re dangerous players. We’re going to have to do our best.”
Orlando City is coming off a 3-1 win over Real Salt Lake. Dwyer scored his sixth goal of the season, and Lamine Sane and Yoshimar Yotun also tallied for the Lions in their sixth straight win.
“This winning streak won’t last forever, but... we’re level-headed through this,” Martino said. “If it comes to an end — hopefully it doesn’t — but if it ever does, the fall’s not too deep. We’ll be right back on the path. I think that’s what’s great about this team.”
—Field Level Media