- Matthew Laboissonniere
Atlanta United Match Preview
It’s good to be back. I’m back home in Rhode Island after a nice week in Cape Cod. While I was away, I saw that Orlando City was able to get one point on the road vs Colorado. I was not able to watch the entire match, but I saw some clips and read up on some other post-game articles from both Gavin and other journalists. A couple of common threads throughout - Gallese with another standout performance, Torres grabbing another goal, and the lack of depth becoming a real concern. There’s not much time to dwell on the result however, as Orlando is back on the road Sunday at 3 pm vs Atlanta United.
Orlando City Stats
8-7-5, Top Goal Scorer: Kara, Top Assister: Pereyra, DWLWL
Atlanta United Stats
6-8-5, Top Goal Scorer: Cisneros, Top Assister: Almada/Moreno, WLDLL
1. It’s Time to go Shopping
I’m not going to act like an MLS expert, and I especially am not one when it comes to the transfer window, who's available on the market, and what teams are looking to make moves. However, the lack of depth, especially in the attacking third, is very apparent and needs to be addressed. If Pareja is serious about making a push this season, we’ll need additions. What we have is not enough. Pato has not been the Pato we dreamed about, and Kara is essentially useless without the ball directly at his foot. Torres has definitely been stepping up recently, and Pereyra is the key in the attacking third, as he is third in the MLS with assists. It wouldn’t hurt to look for more goal threats in the window.
2. Attack Heavy
This is a perfect opportunity to “kick a man while they are down”. Atlanta only has 1 win in their last 5 matches, and they’ve also been hit pretty hard with the injury bug. Brad Guzan, Miles Robinson, and Ozzie Alonso, all key contributors to the backline and defensive midfield, are all out for the season. Because of this, Atlanta has been forced to do a lot of lineup shuffling and rearranging. They’ve been splitting the net between two keepers and they’ve leaked a lot of shitty goals over the season. As I will mention, they’ve conceded the 9th most goals in the MLS. Orlando’s attack isn’t dangerous, but they could get a few on Sunday.
3. The Back 3
The most important 3 players going forward in my opinion could be Gallese, Carlos, and Jansson. Orlando cannot score that many goals in a game, but if we don’t concede a lot, we won't have to. Carlos came back against Colorado and was decent based on the numbers. Is he back to his former self at the start of the season? Not quite, but he and Jansson have a good connection and it’s clear he brings the best out of Robin. In between the sticks, Gallese has been nothing short of a beast who possibly was snubbed from the All Stars. He had 3 key saves including an amazing goal line, point-blank stop, that helped Orlando earn a point. He has been the Lion's best player this season, no doubt. If these 3 guys can keep putting up quality performances, Orlando should finish the year decently well.
A Look at Atlanta United
~ have had goalkeeping issues since Brad Guzan was announced out for the year, conceding the ninth most goals in MLS
~ league-leading 295 scoring attempts
~ Josef Martinzes flies under the radar as an attacking threat, as he has the most accurate shooting percentage on the team
~ 3-4-3 shape is most likely
Another draw looks in favor for me here. Both sides have their weaknesses but neither looks strong enough to get all 3 points. And since the Lions don’t exactly fire shots in, let me say another 1-1 draw on the road. Vamos!