By Robyn Saghini // @robynsaghini
Friday, July 21: 0-1 Win
Saturday, July 29: 1-1 Draw
After much online banter between Atlanta United and Orlando City fans over the last month – and some for over two years prior, the two teams finally met in Orlando on Friday, July 21 to begin the (slightly manufactured) rivalry everyone’s been talking about.
Things got heated a few days before the game when we learned that ATLUTD had paid for a billboard to go up in downtown Orlando, two blocks from the OCSC stadium.
Ahead of #ORLvATL, the Banter game continues. https://t.co/460BKL1V22
— Dirty South Soccer (@DirtySouthSoc) July 18, 2017
This did not go over well in Orlando. Two days after it went up, the billboard was defaced (allegedly) by the Iron Lion Firm, one of OCSC’s let’s say “rowdier” supporters groups. The billboard was taken down later that day, whether by Orlando fans or because that was the plan is unclear.
ATLUTD had just under 500 fans travel to Orlando for the game. During the march to the match, Atlanta fans were escorted by local police and some OCSC front office staff. Someone threw a purple smoke bomb in the middle of the march. Another Atlanta fan was sucker punched walking to the stadium and the people he was with had water bottles thrown at them. There were also reports of a false fire alarm at 3:45AM at the hotel the team was staying at. The social media staff had a good response to that one:
Thanks for the wake-up call ⏰#UniteAndConquer pic.twitter.com/uVhUpTnvGf
— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) July 22, 2017
The game was pretty close, though. If not for Tito Villalba‘s late screamer of a goal, ATLUTD would have come away with just one point. My favorite part of this clip is that Adrian Healy and Taylor Twellman are talking about how Bendik has been making some great saves and is Orlando’s MVP and then…
Worth the wait.
What. A. Goal. #ORLvATL https://t.co/glMYWtwyjA
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) July 22, 2017
This past Saturday, in ATLUTD’s last game at Bobby Dodd Stadium, Orlando struck first. This stunner of a goal from Kaka kept OCSC in the lead for an hour:
HT: @KAKA grabs the opening goal and @OrlandoCitySC heads into the break with the 1-0 lead over @ATLUTD. #ATLvORL https://t.co/jOKPV594JY
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) July 29, 2017
I hate to say it, but that was really well done. And it had us ATL fans worried for a while. Down 0-1 at home to a team we defeated 8 days prior? Fortunately, Tito did not let that happen. An extra time goal from Tito took back a point and Atlanta remains undefeated against Orlando City. I do love the treatment Dirty South Soccer gives this clip:
What’s better than a Tito game-winner vs. Orlando? A Tito game-winner vs. Orlando set to the Titanic theme song. #BeatOrlando pic.twitter.com/2JL9c4HsW5
— Dirty South Soccer (@DirtySouthSoc) July 22, 2017
We still have one more game against Orlando coming up in September. Hopefully their fans will be a little bit better behaved (but probably not).
This coming Sunday, Atlanta United travel to Kansas City to take on the top team in the West. I’m nervous, y’all. The good news is that Dom Dwyer is already in Orlando and wasn’t very effective against us this weekend. At least we don’t have to worry about him.
In other news…
- Lots of progress has been made on our new home, Mercedes-Benz Stadium (aka “The Benz”). Turf was laid down this week. The stadium held a media day last week and so many pictures were shared!
Behold! Mercedes-Benz Stadium, #ATLUTD fans https://t.co/ymjnr1uhVv
— Doug Roberson (@DougRobersonAJC) July 25, 2017
- It was just announced on Monday that our first game at the Benz is already sold out. The capacity will be held at 42,500 (the standard going forward for ATLUTD games) for the September 10th game against FC Dallas.
- The ATLUTD U-16 Academy team are national champions!
U-15/16 Kings of the Academy. 👑@AcademyATLUTD only needed ☝️ year to make history. 🏆
How they made it happen: https://t.co/vd9oHxE3XR pic.twitter.com/g1JsRV9wLb
— Development Academy (@ussoccer_acad) July 17, 2017
Featured image courtesy: atlutd.com
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