Orlando City’s six-game winning streak came to a conclusion on Sunday.
Two first-half goals from Josef Martinez and Ezequiel Barco proved to be too much as Atlanta United stamped a 2-1 victory over the Lions in front of an announced crowd of 24,232 at Orlando City Stadium.
“Obviously an emotional affair tonight,” said Orlando coach Jason Kreis. “Passionate affair from the crowd to the staff to the players. Everybody put everything that they had into this game. It’s unfortunate because the way we played the second half, on a different night – on a lot of different nights already this season – we walk out of here with a draw. But some things went against us, for sure. Some decisions went against us, some of the play, some of our thoughts in the first half surely went against us.”
The Five Stripes (8-2-1, 25 points) opened the scoring early when Cristian Higuita fouled Greg Garza inside the box for a penalty call in favor of Atlanta. Martinez, who scored his eighth goal in 11 appearances this season, converted the penalty for the 1-0 lead.
Atlanta doubled the lead in the 31st minute when Garza played a low-ball cross into box, finding Barco who rifled a shot from close range for the goal.
Orlando (6-3-1, 19 points) pulled one back in the 57th minute after a long distance strike from Will Johnson was punched out by Atlanta goalkeeper Alec Kann, but the ball eventually landed on Justin Meram’s foot to slot the rebound for his first goal for Orlando.
Orlando City is on the road on Friday when they travel to take on Toronto FC at 8 p.m. at BMO Field. The game will broadcast live on ESPN+.
Here’s how the Lions lined up:
Orlando City XI: Bendik; Johnson; Sane, Tarek, El-Munir; Higuita, Yotun, Kljestan (c); Meram, Mueller, Dwyer.
Bench: Edwards Jr.; Schuler, Allen, Rosell, Laryea, Colman, Pinho.
(Photo Courtesy of Orlando City SC)
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