ExLink - 08/24/18 - ORLvATL

Orlando City SC vs. Atlanta United
2018 MLS Regular Season — Week 26

Orlando City Stadium — Orlando
August 24 - 8 pm ET

WATCH: ESPN, ESPN Deportes, MLS LIVE on DAZN (Canada)

All eyes will be on Josef Martinez, as he tries to break the MLS record for goals scored in a single season when Atlanta United takes on Orlando City SC Friday night at Orlando City Stadium as part of Heineken Rivalry Week.

Martinez moved into a tie for the record, which has stood for 22 years, when he struck in a 3-1 win over Columbus Crew SC Sunday. It was Atlanta’s sixth straight game without a loss and moved them back on top of the Supporters’ Shield race after being briefly usurped by the New York Red Bulls.

Orlando City, meanwhile, had a week to lick their wounds from their latest defeat — a 3-2 loss at D.C. United on August 12.

This is the third meeting between the rivals with Atlanta United winning the two previous encounters — 2-1 in Orlando on May 13 and 4-0 at home a month later.

Orlando City SC

Orlando (7-15-2) twice rallied to tie D.C. United, but surrendered a late winner by Luciano Acosta to fall, 3-2, at Audi Field in their last league contest.

After Acosta opened the scoring in first-half stoppage time, the Lions leveled for the first time on a David Ousted own goal. Acosta netted his second goal in the 64th minute, but Dom Dwyer pulled Orlando back again in the 71st minute. Acosta, though, had the last laugh with his third of the game in second-half stoppage time. It was another frustrating defeat for the Lions, who were reduced to 10 men in the 55th minute when Cristian Higuita was sent off for violent conduct

“We’ve shown we’re very capable of scoring goals … I think when you look at how we played with 10 men, we looked like we were actually going to win the game,” James O’Connor said. “Unfortunately it was a really cruel ending, but the way we played with 10 and the fight, the character and spirit — they’re the type of things we want to see and that’s an expectation going forward.”

  • Suspended: M - Yoshi Yotun, M - Cristian Higuita
  • Suspended after next caution: M - Sacha Kljestan, F - Dom Dwyer
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: GK - Mason Stajduhar (Localized Ewing Sarcoma), D - Lamine Sane (quad injury), D - Jonathan Spector (hamstring injury), D - RJ Allen (concussion); QUESTIONABLE: M - Sacha Kljestan (right ankle injury), M - Yoshi Yotun (right foot injury)

Projected Starting XI
(5-4-1, right to left)
GK: Joe Bendik — Chris Mueller, Scott Sutter, Shane O’Neill, Amro Tarek, Mohamed El-Munir — Will Johnson, Josue Colman, Uri Rosell, Tony Rocha — Dom Dwyer

Atlanta United

Atlanta (15-4-6) rode the momentum of Martinez’s first-half goal and tacked on two more in the second half to defeat Crew SC, 3-1, Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Martinez wasted little time, tying the record set by Roy Lassiter and shared by Chris Wondolowski and Bradley Wright-Phillips in the 31st minute. Gyasi Zardes, a distant second to Martinez in the Golden Boot race, leveled in the 50th minute with his 15th goal of the season, but Hector Villalba and Miguel Almiron scored six minutes apart late to secure the win and the Five Stripes spot back atop the Shield standings.

“Not only was it a great result in that Josef was able to tie the record, but I think with the win today we now have one more win than we had last season with nine games still to play,” Tata Martino said. “Those are goals that you go setting and I think it's good that now we're completing some of our goals."

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: D - Michael Parkhurst
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: D - Greg Garza (shoulder surgery), M - Darlington Nagbe (right adductor injury), D - Sal Zizzo (right knee injury), D - Mikey Ambrose (right knee surgery)

Projected Starting XI
(4-2-3-1, right to left)
GK: Brad Guzan — Franco Escobar, Michael Parkhurst, Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, Chris McCann — Jeff Larentowicz, Eric Remedi — Julian Gressel, Miguel Almiron, Hector Villalba — Josef Martinez

All-Time Series

  • Overall: Orlando City SC 0 wins, 5 goals … Atlanta United 3 win, 11 goals … 2 draws
  • At Orlando: Orlando City SC 0 wins, 1 goal … Atlanta United 2 wins, 3 goals … 0 draws
  • Last meeting at Orlando: Orlando City SC 1, Atlanta United 2 (May 13, 2018)


Referee: Ismail Elfath
Assistant Referees: Eduardo Mariscal, Jose Da Silva
4th Official: Sorin Stoica
VAR: Caleb Mendez