Major League Soccer

United FC-Orlando City Preview

Atlanta United must keep their spirits up but start to turn results around, interim coach Rob Valentino understands.

The Five Stripes have not won since May 16, a run of 10 games, and went down 1-0 to Columbus Crew last time out.

Valentino, who replaced Gabriel Heinze earlier this month, was pleased with the amount of chances his team created in that match, with Atlanta having 19 attempts in total.

However, he knows his team have to start converting those opportunities as they look to get their season back on track, starting against Orlando City on Friday.

"We created a good amount of chances, whether it's luck or not our day, I'm not sure," he said after the defeat to Columbus.

"I would hope (it gives confidence to create chances). I hope they would continue to fall. To have that many chances and not score. That's frustrating for me.

"We've talked about it as a staff, what we want to do in training. We keep the spirit in the group that they're together, we're going through a difficult time and we want to push together, but we need to turn the results around."

Valentino's former team Orlando, meanwhile, head into Friday's game on the back of a 5-0 thrashing at the hands of New York City FC.

"We're here preparing again with another quick turnaround, preparing for our match against Atlanta," coach Oscar Pareja said.

"We're trying to bounce back and engage in the couple of training sessions that we have in order to be prepared for the game tactically, with our strategy too and prepare our players mentally, physically and to be ready for the game. That's our duty right now."

Orlando City - Mauricio Pereyra

Mauricio Pereyra's six assists are tied for second-most in MLS behind only Carles Gil (13). Pereyra has assists on goals for five different players this season, only Gil (8) has recorded assists on goals for more different players in 2021.

Atlanta United - Josef Martinez

Josef Martinez has seven career goals against Orlando, the most the Venezuelan - back in the fold after Heinze's departure - has scored against any team.

- Orlando's Tesho Akindele has scored three career goals against Atlanta while Chris Mueller has added two.

- Atlanta has mustered just one win in 17 away matches (D7 L9) since the 2020 regular season resumed after MLS is Back. Atlanta's current 12-match away winless run (D6 L6) is the longest in club history.

- Atlanta's club record winless run extended to 10 games with a loss to Columbus last Saturday (D6 L4). Even with the drought, the Five Stripes have not lost consecutive games this season, following up each of their first four losses with a draw.

- Orlando has lost three of its last five matches (W1 D1) after losing just three of its previous 27 regular season matches (W15 D9) dating back to late August 2020.

- Orlando is unbeaten in its last five matches against Atlanta (W2 D3) including a scoreless draw in the first meeting this season in April. Orlando did not win any of its first eight MLS meetings with Atlanta, losing six times and drawing only twice.

Updated July 29, 2021

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