Orlando City and Atlanta United square off at 3 pm this Saturday inside Exploria Stadium in the 2021 home opener, presented by Orlando Health. Let’s break down the matchup by the numbers:
6 - Unbeaten run
Six times Orlando City has opened the MLS regular season at home, and six times the Lions have picked up at least one point. Famously, Orlando has never lost in the home opener, from Kaka’s dramatic equalizer against NYCFC in stoppage time in 2015 to coming back from 2-0 down to draw in both 2016 and 2019. The Lions also won their first-ever match at Exploria Stadium in 2017, downing NYCFC. This will be the first year Orlando faces Atlanta in the season opener.
8 - How the tables have turned
Orlando City had never beaten Atlanta United going into 2020, but last season flipped the script on the matchup in the big way. The Lions earned eight points in just four matches against the Five Stripes, including a 3-1 win at the Benz in August that marked the first-ever victory for Orlando over Atlanta and a 4-1 beatdown at Exploria Stadium in October that all-but sealed Atlanta’s fate for the year. Orlando also scored eight goals against Atlanta, with two coming from Chris Mueller.
7 - Return of the Josef
Josef Martinez has been a thorn in most teams’ sides since arriving in MLS with Atlanta United in 2017, but Orlando has been one of his favorite targets. Martinez began with a hat trick against Orlando in a 3-3 draw in 2017 and has racked up seven goals against the Lions in his career, scoring in five of his last six appearances against the Lions. Martinez missed the entire 2020 season after tearing his ACL in the season opener and is set to return to MLS action for the first time in more than a year on Saturday.
2.08 - Pulpo = points
Peruvian No. 1 Pedro Gallese returns for his second season in goal for Orlando City. El Pulpo quickly established himself as one of the league’s best goalkeepers in 2020–the Lions ran up a 15-4-5 record in all competitions when Gallese started in goal, good for a 2.08 points per game average. Over the course of a 34-game MLS regular season, that would equal out to 71 points, one shy of the all-time league record.
1.5 - FAIRWINDS Credit Union
Score up to 1.5% cash back and LionNation points when you use your FAIRWINDS Orlando City Visa® or Orlando Pride Visa® on game day purchases and everyday essentials. Apply today and get purple carded.