The hottest team in Major League Soccer resides out of Orlando, as the Lions head into today’s match with a six-game winning streak and a chance to knock off the Eastern Conference’s No. 1 seeded Atlanta United FC. Orlando City is coming off another thrilling victory, a 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake last weekend on the road and the Lions are hoping to continue the winning trend in the friendly confines of Orlando City Stadium.

Today’s match takes place at 6 p.m. and Orlando City heads into the contest looking to move into a tie for first-place in the conference. We take a look at a few keys to this evening’s game between Atlanta United and Orlando City.

Dwyer has been clutch

In six games since Dom Dwyer has returned to action has been highly efficient for Orlando City, scoring six goals for the Lions. The timely goals, however, have been even more important during the six-game stretch. Dwyer’s goal last week against Real Salt Lake took place in the second half en route to the win.

Playmaking by Sacha

The off-season acquisition of midfielder Sacha Kljestan was a big one made by the club in hopes of finding a playmaker to replace the retiring Kaka. Kljestan has started to find his groove with Orlando City, scoring three goals and has recorded two assists in the last two games.

Bendik keeping the defense in line

Stellar goaltending has been another key ingredient towards Orlando City’s recent success and goalkeeper Joe Bendik has much to do with that. Bendik has recorded 28 saves so far this season and will be expected to come up big against Atlanta United.

Orlando’s Jason Kreis vs. Atlanta’s Gerardo Martino

Both managers know what’s at stake here in this early season matchup between conference giants. Kreis, who is in a very important ‘prove it’ year after the front office has loaded the team up with talent, needs to keep the Lions rolling during this pivotal stretch.

Home crowd on Mother’s Day 

There’s no doubt that Orlando City Stadium should be rocking on Mother’s Day, as the Lions play in what has become their most important game of the season to date.

About The Author

Andy Villamarzo has covered high school and youth sports for the Tampa Bay Times and The Tampa Tribune as a correspondent since 2008. He is a native of Holiday, FL, who graduated from Gulf High School and studied at St. Petersburg College. He has covered various prep, collegiate and professional athletes throughout his writing career, including Josh Johnson (Jacksonville Jaguars), Patrick Schuster (Arizona Diamondbacks) and currently writes for other publications like The Suncoast News, Friday Night Football Magazine and TopDrawerSoccer.com.

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