ATLANTA, Ga – Orlando City SC (8-2-6, 30 points) extended their unbeaten run to 10 matches and counting by battling to a 0-0 draw against Atlanta United FC (5-8-3, 18 points) on Wednesday night at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Brian Rowe had to step into duty as Pedro Gallese was called up to international duty (Peru), and Rowe, who wore the captain’s armband, held strongwomen with 3 saves and served as the Heineken Player of the Game.
Rowe answered every Five Striper challenge. He sprawled to his right in the 18th minute to deny a Miles Robinson header, and also kicked away an Anton Walkes effort in the 71st minute after a recirculated corner kick.
Regardless of the result, Orlando Head Coach Oscar Pareja was proud of his squad’s efforts.
“I think the players had another great game.” Said Pareja ” Obviously we aim for three points in our ambition to have that protagonism and come away wherever we go to fight for the three points, it’s there. We had many options to score and not just that but I think we really dominated the game all the time. It’s much better when you translate that into three points, but there’s no frustration from my end. It’s just pride about a group of players today with many players that came out today into a game when they’re not regular in the lineup and today they played excellent, so that’s the highlight of the game for us. The players came up big today and put the team on their shoulders and I’m proud.”
The Lions had a couple of chances to score, but hit two shots off of the woodwork, in particular, Nani, knocking a shot off of the crossbar in the 78th minute.
Orlando midfielder Junior Urso thought he had a late game-winner, but Guzan produced a point-blank stop in the 86th minute. He moved his feet quickly to deny the Brazilian after Nani fizzed a low cross across the 18-yard box.
Interesting enough, The Lions did not start Nani or Chris Mueller. Instead, Pareja gave rookie Joey DeZart, No. 31 overall at the 2020 MLS SuperDraft by the Lions out of Wake Forest, his first professional start.
Also, Midfielder Robinho registered his second start of the year in the match.
Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan has the post to thank the couple of Orlando shots, but he also produced six saves.
Orlando returns home on Sunday October 11th to face the Columbus Crew, while Atlanta faces the New York Red Bulls on October 10th.