Record Major League Soccer Crowd Sees Atlanta and Orlando Share The Spoils

Filed under: Florida News,Major League Soccer,Orlando City Soccer,Orlando Sport,Sport |

Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta - 16th September2017 (Photographer: Nigel G Worrall)

Atlanta’s brand new Mercedes-Benz Stadium played host to the biggest crowd in MLS history on Saturday as 70,425 spectators were treated to a thrilling game between two sides who haven’t got the faintest clue on how to defend.

Atlanta United 3 Orlando City Soccer 3, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta - 16th September2017 (Photographer: Nigel G Worrall)

Orlando’s newest signing Dom Dwyer (pictured above left) bagged his first two goals since his mid-season trade from Sporting KC and Cyle Larin struck for his 12th goal of the year in a resilient display against their new regional rivals Atlanta United.

Orlando led three times but couldn’t hold on as a hat trick from Josef Martinez, his third of the season and second of the week, ensured the home side rallied on each occasion to gain a hard-earned 3-3 draw.

Atlanta United 3 Orlando City Soccer 3, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta - 16th September2017 (Photographer: Nigel G Worrall)

“Obviously our objective was to get the three points here, as it will be now the rest of the way,” Lions head coach Jason Kreis said. “To settle for a point is a little disheartening but to look past that and look at the performance, I’m really proud of what the guys put into it. I thought the effort and mentality to respond twice after giving away goals and get the lead again was fantastic. The guys gave us everything and I couldn’t be prouder of them.”

Atlanta United 3 Orlando City Soccer 3, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta - 16th September2017 (Photographer: Nigel G Worrall)

The Lions grabbed an early lead in the 10th minute when Donny Toia served a perfect ball to the back post for Dwyer, who leapt through the air to head home the first ever opposing goal scored at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Josef Martínez then grabbed a tap in equalizer in the 36th minute as poor Orlando defending left him completely free on the back post. Three minutes later, Dwyer gave Orlando the lead for the second time with a mirror image goal, this time from Sutter on the right wing. It was Dwyer’s 11th career MLS brace and gave Toia a career-high three assists this season.

Half Time: Atlanta 1 Orlando 2

Atlanta United 3 Orlando City Soccer 3, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta - 16th September2017 (Photographer: Nigel G Worrall)

Ten minutes after the break Martínez found space to level the game for the second time as he scored his second goal of the game with a fine header from a Chris McCann cross. Larin then gave Orlando the lead for the third time as Dwyer served a superb in-swinging cross to the far post that Larin headed off the ground and past a diving Brad Guzan at the near post.

Atlanta were not to be out done though and leveled the match in the 69th minute when Tommy Redding failed to spot Martínez’s run to convert a Héctor Villalba cross for his hat-trick.

The match was the third and final meeting of the season between the two teams, with the Lions taking two points from two games in Atlanta.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta - 16th September2017 (Photographer: Nigel G Worrall)

Before the game Atlanta Special Olympics Unified team took on Orlando Special Olympics Unified team. The game ended with a victory for the visitors by a 2-0 scoreline.

Full Time: Atlanta 3 Orlando 3

City now finishes their four game road trip against the Portland Timbers on Sept. 24. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. ET at Providence Park and will be nationally televised on FS1. The Lions return to Orlando City Stadium on Wednesday, Sept. 27, to host the New England Revolution. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET.

Lineups/Substitutions:

Atlanta United FC – GK Brad Guzan, D Chris McCann, Jeff Larentowicz, ⓒ Michael Parkhurst, Anton Walkes (Tyrone Mears 81’), M Julian Gressel (Kevin Kratz 71’), Carlos Carmona, Yamil Asad (Mikey Ambrose 88’), Miguel Almirón, Héctor Villalba, F Josef Martínez

Substitutes Not Used: GK Kyle Reynish, D M F Kenwyne Jones, Jacob Peterson, Brandon Vázquez

Orlando City SC – GK Joe Bendik, D Donny Toia, Jonathan Spector (Léo Pereira 59’), Tommy Redding, Scott Sutter, M ⓒ Antonio Nocerino, Yoshimar Yotún, Dillon Powers (Carlos Rivas 73’), Giles Barnes, F Cyle Larin, Dom Dwyer

Substitutes Not Used: GK Earl Edwards, Jr., D Rafael Ramos, PC, M Tony Rocha, F Hadji Barry

Attendance: 70,425

More photos from the game at www.FloridaLeisurePhotography.com

More photos from the Atlanta Special Olympics Unified Team vs Orlando Special Olympics Unified Team here

More photos of the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta here

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