HIGHLIGHTS: Orlando City SC vs. Atlanta United FC | July 30, 2021
Atlanta held a 2-1 lead on a Marcelino Moreno golazo in the 66th minute, but a late flurry by Orlando behind Silvester van der Water's equalizer with less than 10 minutes to go, coupled with Nani's match-winner, turned the tables in favor of the hosts as they moved into second place in the Eastern Conference standings.
It didn't take long for Atlanta to stake their claim on the match. Just 47 seconds in, Brooks Lennon fed a cross to Josef Martinez, whose strike from beyond the box caromed off the woodwork and past Mason Stajduhar to make it 1-0. Martinez nearly was involved in a second goal, though his ball to Erik Lopez was ultimately deflected over the bar.
Meanwhile, Orlando had a fantastic chance at an equalizer at the 20-minute mark, but Benji Michel's well-timed shot from a Nani pass was stopped nicely by Alec Kann. Moments later, Lennon found Martinez inside the box on a corner kick routine and the Atlanta striker missed a chance to make it 2-0 on a free header.
In the 43rd minute, Orlando found their equalizer as a corner kick from Nani was headed by Kyle Smith past Kann to make it a 1-1 contest. But Kann robbed Chris Mueller of a potential go-ahead goal not long after in first-half stoppage time.
Despite Orlando controlling play for much of the second half, it was the visitors taking control in the 66th minute through Moreno, who ripped a swerving shot past an outstretched Stadjuhar to put Atlanta ahead 2-1.
But Orlando leveled things back up in the 79th minute. A headed cross by Michel was knocked home by the head of a falling van der Water, who put the Lions back on level terms. Then in the 87th minute, van der Water delivered a cross to Nani, whose diving header secured a dramatic three points for Orlando.
- THE BIG PICTURE: This one lived up to the billing, as the Southeast rivals fought to a dramatic finish. But as has been the case of late, Orlando got the better of Atlanta once more as their unbeaten streak against the Five Stripes hit six games. Despite a performance for Atlanta that had some optimistic sparks, it’s an empty trip to Florida as their franchise-worst winless streak reaches 11 matches.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Josef Martinez added to his list of memorable strikes at Exploria Stadium, but Orlando had the last laugh. Moments after van der Water leveled the contest, Nani provided the late heroics with his eighth goal of the season.
GOAL: Nani, Orlando City SC - 87th minute
- MAN OF THE MATCH: He wasn’t on the field for a good portion of the match, but van der Water made his mark during his time on the pitch, scoring the equalizer and then assisting on the winner with just moments to go.
GOAL: Silvester van der Water, Orlando City SC - 79th minute