By Official Florida FC
A testament to how far Orlando City has come in the Oscar Pareja era is the fact there was a semblance of disappointment the Lions couldn’t defeat its original rival Atlanta United on Saturday afternoon at Exploria Stadium.
Orlando City and Atlanta produced a scoreless draw in front of 11,503 fans. The result means Orlando is unbeaten in its last five matches against the Five Stripes (2-0-3).
“At the outset, the two teams wanted to have the domination of the game, getting the ball, creating the sequences,” Pareja told the club’s website after the match. “I could see Atlanta [United] from the beginning, they had the initiative as well and then we were fighting for those sequences. It was back and forth. In the second half I think we had more balance, in the middle creating more numerical superiority. We created options to finish the game and get the three points. We feel like it was much more with those two, three options created that we had, but the game was intense. We found a good team in front of us and we’re going to take that point and start our season this way.”
The match was one of the few that will be played in the heat of the afternoon in Central Florida. The final 45 minutes were not played with the frenzy and intensity of the first 45.
Orlando’s best chance of the game came in the 72nd minute when new forward Alexandre Pato’s shot was deflected enough for former U.S. Men’s National Team goalie Brad Guzan to smother it.
Orlando city remains unbeaten in its first MLS matchday of the season. But, the Lions are 1-0-6 in seven matches. Orlando (0-0-1, 1 point) travels to Sporting Kansas City (1-0-0, 3 points) on Friday, April 23.