Atlanta United FC vs. Orlando City SC Pick & Prediction MARCH 17th 2024

After taking full advantage of a second chance to jump start their season, Atlanta United will race into its matchup Sunday at home against rival Orlando City.

Following a lackluster defeat in their season opener, Atlanta United (1-1-0, 3 points) found the kind of play it has been looking for when Giorgos Giakoumakis delivered a hat trick in a 4-1 domination of the New England Revolution last weekend.

Thiago Almada also scored a goal as Atlanta showed the kind of force it can be behind the partnership of Giakoumakis and Almada.

“If you score four, five goals (in a game), you send a message,” Giakoumakis said. “It’s good to do that because so far we haven’t shown anything offensively, we’re trying to figure out how we’re going to connect to each other again … so hopefully, that’s the start.”

By connecting “to each other again,” Giakoumakis was referring to last year’s team that was second in MLS with 66 goals and is back on track to being an offensive threat again.

On defense, allowing just a goal per game is giving reasons for optimism after the club was seventh worst last season with 53 goals against.

Orlando City (0-2-1, 1 point) is dealing with a busy start to the season, having already played seven games when counting CONCACAF Champions League commitments.

On Tuesday, Orlando City was dealt a 4-2 road defeat against Tigres UANL of Mexico after trailing 2-0 a mere 20 minutes into the contest. The Lions were eliminated in a winner-take-all affair after the first matchup between the teams ended in a scoreless tie at Orlando.

Facundo Torres and Martin Ojeda each scored from the penalty spot for Orlando City after captain Robin Jansson was fouled in the box on both occasions. Torres had three goals in four Champions League games but has not scored in three MLS games.

“It was hard for us to adapt to the field, to the climate, to the (stadium) atmosphere,” Orlando City head coach Oscar Pareja said. “… The start of the game just cost us a lot. At this point, we need to rejoin, move on and concentrate on the league (play).”

–Field Level Media

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