Orlando City (10-4-8, 38 pts) began its current seven-match unbeaten streak against Atlanta United (6-7-9, 27 pts) with a 3-2 victory back on July 30. The teams will meet for the third and final time this regular season on Friday night at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The match, set to kick off at 7 p.m. ET, will be televised nationally on FS1 and FOX Deportes, with local radio coverage available from 6:30 p.m on FM 96.9 the Game in English and Acción 97.9 FM in Spanish.
Here’s everything you need to know about Atlanta:
Key Transactions and Player News
Key Departures - Head Coach Gabriel Heinze, 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)
Key Additions - Head Coach Gonzalo Pineda (Seattle Sounders), M/W Luiz Araújo (Lille), CB Alan Franco (Independiente), DM Santiago Sosa (River Plate), CM Franco Ibarra (Argentinos Juniors), RB Ronald Hernández (Aberdeen, loan)
News - After dismissing Gabriel Heinze in July, Atlanta found their permanent replacement in former Seattle Sounders assistant Gonzalo Pineda, who was officially appointed on August 12. Pineda played more than a decade in Liga MX and earned 44 caps for his native Mexico before joining Seattle in 2014 for the final two years of his playing career. He had been on Brian Schmetzer’s staff with the Sounders since January 2017.
Atlanta also made a major splash in the summer transfer market, signing Luiz Araújo from Lille for a reported $9.4 million fee. Araújo, who can play as a winger or in central midfield, scored 18 goals in 136 games in all competitions for the defending French champions.
Take a look at Atlanta’s full roster here.
Atlanta got off to a disastrous start in 2021, beginning the year 2-5-8 before firing Heinze after a home loss to New England on July 17. Interim head coach Rob Valentino helped steady the ship, and eventually the Five Stripes ripped off a four-game winning streak in August to get themselves back into the playoff mix. Atlanta did lose their most recent match, a 2-0 home defeat to Nashville on August 28.
Orlando has comprehensively owned Atlanta under Oscar Pareja, going 3-0-3 against the Five Stripes since August 2020. This will be the third game Pareja’s group plays at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. In last year’s two contests in Georgia, the Lions destroyed the Five Stripes in a not-as-close-as-it-looked 3-1 win on August 29 before the teams played to a 0-0 midweek draw on October 7.
Rasmussen University Fact
Atlanta has lost three home matches so far in 2021. If Orlando City wins on Friday, it’ll match the Five Stripes’ most home losses in a single season, their four defeats in 2020.