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Atlanta will surely be itching to right some wrongs after giving up three points to their original next door neighbors for the first and second times over the course of the 2020 season. The Lions, meanwhile, will be eager to continue their trend bucking results from last year into 2021.
In addition, we’ll see a long awaited homecoming of sorts for Josef Martinez, who returns to Exploria Stadium for the first time since August 23rd, 2019, where he’s scored in all but one visit.
An overall tally of seven goals in six games makes this matchup the most profitable for Josef, one which he and many others would be happy to see grow today.
The high profile opener is one of the earlier kickoff times of the day at 3:00 PM, so make sure to prepare by checking out our match preview and lineup prediction before joining us in the match thread below as we begin our 2021 MLS journey.
How you bet this one may depend on whether you think last year was an aberration or a sign of bigger problems for Atlanta. I’m inclined to think it’s the former.
That’s not to say all those woes were de Boer’s fault. But the disharmony was clear and on paper Atlanta’s current roster is certainly as talented as Orlando’s.
Add two games of real competition for Heinze’s squad and Atlanta should have some momentum Orlando doesn’t. That’s not to say Orlando is overrated — this match could very well be an Eastern Conference final preview — but an advantage in match fitness could cancel out any home field edge