Orlando City opens the 2021 Major League Soccer regular season, presented by Orlando Health, with their home opener at Exploria Stadium against Atlanta United this Saturday, April 17 at 3 pm, also presented by Orlando Health. All information about attending Saturday’s match, including health and safety information, is available here. The game will be televised nationally on UniMás, TUDN, and Twitter, with local radio coverage on Real Radio 104.1 FM in English and Acción 97.9 FM and 810 AM in Spanish.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Five Stripes:
Key Transactions and Player News
Key Additions - Head Coach Gabriel Heinze (Vélez Sarsfield), CB Alan Franco (Independiente), DM Santiago Sosa (River Plate), CM Franco Ibarra (Argentinos Juniors), RB Ronald Hernández (Aberdeen, loan), CF Lisandro López (Racing Club)
Key Departures - RB Franco Escobar (Newell’s Old Boys, loan), CB Fernando Meza (Defensa y Justicia, loan), F Jon Gallagher (Austin FC), CM Eric Remedi (San Jose Earthquakes), CM Jeff Larentowicz (retirement)
Injury report - OUT: GK Alec Kann, CM Mo Adams (not medically cleared)
Player news - 2018 MLS Golden Boot winner Josef Martinez returned to the field last week for the first time since tearing his ACL in the 2020 season opener against Nashville SC. Martinez has scored 77 goals in 84 regular season appearances for Atlanta.
Take a look at Atlanta’s full roster here.
Atlanta United qualified for the 2021 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League thanks to their victory in the 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, meaning they have already played a competitive match this season. The Five Stripes went to Costa Rica and defeated Alajuelense 1-0 in the first leg of their round of 16 tie, with Ezequiel Barco scoring the game’s lone goal on a penalty kick.
Without Martinez, the Five Stripes suffered through a dismal 2020 season, notching just 22 points in 23 games and failing to escape the group stage of the MLS is Back Tournament.
Orlando City dominated the matchups between the two teams last season, going 2-0-2 against Atlanta United in 2020. Highlights included a 3-1 win in Atlanta on August 29 and a 4-1 romp at Exploria Stadium on October 28.
Rasmussen College Fact
Orlando City has never lost a home opener in its MLS history. The Lions defeated NYCFC 1-0 in 2017 in the first-ever game at Exploria Stadium and have managed a draw in each of the other five seasons, coming back from 2-0 deficits on two occasions.