ORLANDO, FL – Orlando City SC hosted Atlanta United in their opening game of the 2021 MLS season. Atlanta had played two games in the Concacaf Champions League Round of 16, advancing past L.D. Alajuelense. A huge Brad Guzan save would
Brad Guzan Save on Pato in Scoreless Draw in Orlando
This match saw several key lineup decisions. Alexandre Pato made his Lions debut. With the Five Stripes playing midweek in CCL, Josef Martinez was on the bench but Marcelino Moreno and Ezequiel Barco started.
The first half had a good pace, with both teams getting chances in transition and on restarts. Finishing however, was very poor.
Just minute into the game, Emerson Hyndman unloaded a shot from just outside the box that went wide. Júnior Urso has two chances in the first half, the more dangerous coming in the 40th minute.
Things got heated in the second half, both in the box and between the whistles.
Jhegson Sebastián Méndez and Pato could have given Orlando the lead in the second half. First Méndez played a great one-two in the 62nd minute to get around his marker in the box. He tried to dribble around goalkeeper Brad Guzan but was unable to finish.
Ten minutes later, Chris Mueller found Pato in the box. He got 1-on-1 with Guzan. He tried to shoot under him, but the goalkeeper made the save, getting a hand to it and controlling the ball to prevent a rebound.
Neither team could muster a better chance in the final 20 minutes and the match ended 0-0.
GUUUUUZ with a critical save 🚫 pic.twitter.com/wsGhg9c1Op
— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) April 17, 2021
Three Key Takeaways:
Good chance creation, bad execution: Both teams had numerous chances but were unable to score. Atlanta executed poorly and Orlando just flat out couldn’t finish despite several great looks.
Guzan rebounds from CCL: Guzan was sent off in the first leg CCL game last week and thus did not play in the second leg midweek. He was the MOTM in this match and could end up winning MLS Save of the Week for that save on Pato’s shot.
Martinez still recovering: Josef Martinez made a substitute appearance in this match, playing 15 minutes. He started just one of three games so far and has yet to score. But he’s playing and training, working his way back to health.