Orlando City winning streak halted by Atlanta United

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Atlanta United halted Orlando City’s six game winning run on Sunday with a 2-1 win at Orlando City Stadium.

The game was never a classic affair as top of the Eastern Conference Atlanta and third placed Orlando battled it out for Southern bragging rights that saw a frenetic game end with the home sides fans throwing all kinds of debris and objects onto the field as emotions ran high late into the game.

Atlanta went ahead in the 10th minute as Josef Martinez netted from the penalty spot after referee Alan Kelly correctly called Christian Higuita’s ill judged push to Greg Garza’s neck. The visitors then added a second goal in the 31st minute with a well worked goal that saw Garza feed Ezequiel Barco near the penalty spot and he applied a neat outside of the right foot finish that comprehensively beat Joe Bendik in the Orlando goal.

A minute later it was almost three as Atlanta caught Orlando on the break as Miguel Almirón broke quickly from close to his own penalty area. The Paraguayan fed a superb 20 yard ball into the path of Martinez who beat Bendik but unfortunately found the chest of Mohamed El-Munir and the scoreline stayed at 2-0.

After the half time break Orlando responded as Oriol Rosell came off the bench to impose himself on the game but it was a Will Johnson shot from 30 yards that gave Orlando a lifeline back into the game. Atlanta keeper Alec Kann could only parry Johnson’s shot into the path of Justin Meram and he coolly slotted home his first goal in purple in the 57th minute to give the home fans hope of clawing another game back from the jaws of defeat.

Atlanta always looked dangerous on the break as they looked to exploit their pace but it was Orlando who looked the more likely to score as the game progressed. After a series of niggly fouls the game ignited as Darlington Nagbe  went down after a challenge by Rosell and both sets of players then became involved in a series of pushing, shoving and handbags in the 83rd minute.

Orlando’s fans then became incensed in the 4th minute of added time as Will Johnson went down on the right flank near the penalty area as Leandro González Pirez slid into a challenge. Kelly corrected adjudged that Johnson dived and then promptly booked the Canadian for the manner of his vociferous protest while Lion’s fans pelted the field with beer cans, bottles and other such items as they realized their winning streak was about to end. It was unsavory end to a competitive game that always saw the visitors have that extra touch of quality that deservedly won them the game.

City faces a quick turnaround as it heads to Canada to take on Toronto FC on Friday, May 18, at 8 p.m. ET. The Lions then return to Orlando City Stadium on Saturday, May 26, to host the Chicago Fire at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Lineups/Substitutions:

Orlando City SC – GK Joe Bendik, D Mohamed El-Munir, Amro Tarek, Lamine Sané, Will Johnson, M Yoshimar Yotún, Cristian Higuita (Uri Rosell 46’), Justin Meram (Stéfano Pinho 74’), ⓒ Sacha Kljestan, Chris Mueller (Josué Colmán 66’), F Dom Dwyer

Substitutes Not Used: GK Earl Edwards, Jr., D Chris Schuler, RJ Allen, M Richie Laryea

Atlanta United FC – GK Alec Kann, D Leandro González Pirez, ⓒ Michael Parkhurst, Miles Robinson, M Greg Garza, Jeff Larentowicz, Darlington Nagbe (Kevin Kratz 87’), Julian Gressel, F Miguel Almirón, Ezequiel Barco (Héctor Villalba 68’), Josef Martínez (Romario Williams 79’)

Substitutes Not Used: GK Mitch Hildebrandt, D Sal Zizzo, Mikey Ambrose, F Brandon Vázquez

Attendance: 24,232

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