Atlanta United face off against Orlando City in a southern showdown in MLS matchday 25 on July 15 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
The two Eastern Conference clubs will renew their rivalry for the 20th time, with the Five Stripes leading the series record with nine wins to Orlando’s three with three draws being shared as well.
The most recent installment was back in May as Atlanta’s Tyler Wolff scored a late goal from a set piece to cancel out Kyle Smith’s opener, with the game ending in a 1-1 draw. Orlando more than likely felt they should’ve won, while the Atlanta escaped with a point.
Now, both clubs are just about neck-and-neck in the East, with Atlanta in sixth place on 35 points, and Orlando in seventh with 34 points. Atlanta has their young star in Thiago Almada and Orlando has Facundo Torres, and it promises to be an exciting game in Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
When is kick-off? 7:30 PM EST
Where is the game being played? Mercedes-Benz Stadium
What time does TV coverage start? 7:15 PM EST
Midfielder Erik Lopez, who has only played 25 minutes in 2023, is still out with an ankle injury. Forward Giorgos Giakoumakis, who’s in the MLS Golden Boot race with 10 goals despite only playing 957 minutes, is questionable with a hamstring injury he suffered against Philadelphia Union.
Defender Miles Robinson is out, but not due to injury. Robinson was with the US men’s national team at the 2023 Gold Cup, and because of their exit at the hands of Panama, he is now back with Atlanta but will not take part against Orlando. In his place, Atlanta has given Juanjo Purata, Luis Abram, and Ronaldo Hernandez plenty of chances playing with three center-backs.
Franco Ibarra was recently sent out on loan to Toronto FC for the remainder of the season, and in his absence Atlanta will rely on Santiago Sosa, Osvaldo Alonzo, Ajani Fortune, and Matheus Rosseto.
Atlanta’s last five games have encapsulated their 2023 campaign perfectly: a 2-2 draw against NYCFC, a 4-0 defeat vs. New York Red Bulls, followed by two wins against Philadelphia (2-0) and Montreal (1-0), before losing 2-1 their most recent game against New England Revolution.
The Lions have four players that are unavailable due to injury. Defenders Abdi Salim and Mikey Halliday miss out via left thigh and left knee injuries, respectively. Robin Jansson, Antonio Carlos, and Kyle Smith, and Luca Petrasso will have their chances in defense in the meantime.
Backup goalkeeper Adam Grinwis remains in the concussion protocol, and Mason Stajduhar will take up the second-choice role while he is out. Forward Gaston Gonzalez’s right thigh injury has him sidelined, and Orlando will lean on Facundo Torres and Ivan Angula to take on winger duties.
Orlando has enjoyed a much nicer five game stretch when compared to Atlanta’s. After two draws against Philadelphia and Seattle, they throttled Chicago 3-1 and Toronto 4-0, before losing at Real Salt Lake 4-0.
This game is shaping up to be an exciting contest between two rivals that both have plenty of young talent, and both sides are trying to establish a foothold in the East as the playoff race heats up.
Orlando City have been the more consistent side as of late, but Atlanta United are a tough side to beat at home in front of their supporters.
Prediction: Atlanta United 2-1 Orlando City