Both teams started eagerly looking to score in the early minutes of the match. Just two minutes after kick-off, Atlanta had their first chance from a filtered pass that was intercepted by goalkeeper Joe Bendik.
In minute 17, Orlando City had their first clear opportunity. Kaká outran three Atlanta players and passed the ball to forward Giles Barnes. The 28-year-old shot from the verge of the box, but his shot curled wide. Three minutes later, Kaká made a similar run that was intercepted by Atlanta’s defense.
In the 23rd minute, forward Héctor Villalba managed to squeeze between Orlando’s back line to receive a filtered pass. The Argentinian received the ball alone inside the box, but his shot was saved by Bendik.
In minute 36, Orlando City had one of their clearest chances. Forward Carlos Rivas ran to receive an amazing pass from Kaká that left him alone with Guzan. The Colombian born shot a rocket at first touch, but it went directly into Guzan’s hands.
Orlando City continued the pressure and three minutes later had another important chance. Rivas sent a cross from a set piece that was headed by Orlando City defender, Jonathan Spector. The ball was directed toward the goal, but Guzan dived and prevented Orlando from taking the advantage.
A minute before the end of the first half, Bendik had another intervention after saving a shot from midfielder Miguel Almirón.
In the second half, at the 50-minute mark, forward Héctor Villalba was caught offside, kept running with the ball, and shot to the stands. That enraged Bendik, who pushed him. Villalba did not like that and pushed Bendik and defender Danny Toia. The referee was trying to stop the brawl. However, Villalba pushed Spector as well. The crowd was furious and started insulting Villalba due to his reaction. In the end, players calmed and the game resumed without players getting booked.
In the 63rd, Guzan had another huge intervention on a set piece. The 32-year-old saved Spector’s header again and kept the score to zero.
Seven minutes later, Bendik gave fans another reason to cheer after saving another shot, this time coming off the foot of substitute Brandon Vázquez from 5 meters away.
Less than 24 hours after playing in the Gold Cup with Canada, Cyle Larin came on as a substitute for Barnes at the 71st minute.
“I am very thankful for his [Larin’s] efforts. I spoke to him last night after the match and was appreciated that he was desperate to come here and help with what he could”, said Orlando City head coach Jason Kreis.
In the 86th minute, Villalba shocked everyone at the stadium by opening the score with an excellent shot from 30 meters away that left Bendik with nothing to do. He was assisted by defender Greg Garza.
Despite being down in the score at the end of the match, Orlando City still had a hope of scoring the tying goal.
The Lions had one last chance of tying the match after midfielder Will Johnson received a pass that positioned him alone with Guzan. However, his shot went straight into the stands.
The match finalized with a total of 14 shots (five on target) by Orlando City and a total of 45% of ball possession. On the other hand, Atlanta United summed 8 shots (six on target) with 55% of ball possession.
Orlando City SC starting XI: [G] Joe Bendik; [D] Scott Sutter, José Aja, Jonathan Spector, Danny Toia; [M] Will Johnson, Cristian Higuita, Antonio Nocerino, Kaká; [F] Giles Barnes, Carlos Rivas.
Atlanta United FC starting XI: [G] Brad Guzan; [D] Anton Walkes, Michael Parkhurst (C), Leandro González Pirez, Greg Garza; [M] Jeff Larentowicz, Carlos Carmona; Julian Gressel, Miguel Almirón, Yamil Asad; [F] Héctor Villalba.
Both teams will face each other again in the next fixture at the Bobby Dodd Stadium on July 29th, 2017.
FACT: Cyle Larin played the day before with Canada 55 minutes. The player arrives the next day at Orlando to play 20 minutes.