Tampa Bay Sports Day

MLS: Orlando Plays Atlanta to 3-3 Draw in Front of Record Crowd

ATLANTA – In the third match of a four-game road trip, Orlando City SC (9-12-8, 35 points) played to a thrilling 3-3 draw against Atlanta United FC (12-8-7, 43 points) in front of an announced crowd of 70,425 – a Major League Soccer (MLS) single-game attendance record – Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Dom Dwyer scored his first two MLS goals as a Lion before assisting Cyle Larin’s 12th goal of the season, while fullbacks Donny Toia and Scott Sutter also assisted.

“Obviously our objective was to get the three points here, as it will be now the rest of the way,” Lions head coach Jason Kreis said. “To settle for a point is a little disheartening but to look past that and look at the performance, I’m really proud of what the guys put into it. I thought the effort and mentality to respond twice after giving away goals and get the lead again was fantastic. The guys gave us everything and I couldn’t be prouder of them.”

Dwyer and Larin got the start with Giles Barnes at the top of the diamond midfield for the second consecutive game and, along with Yoshimar Yotún, continued to show chemistry in the attack.

Dillon Powers made his second start as a Lion and Antonio Nocerino wore the captain’s armband for the second consecutive game. Jonathan Spector made his first start since Aug. 5 alongside Tommy Redding, Sutter and Toia. Joe Bendik made his 63rd consecutive MLS start for City.

The Lions jumped out to an early lead in the 10th minute when Toia served a perfect ball to the back post for Dwyer, who leaped through the air to head home the first opposing goal scored in three games at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Three minutes after Josef Martínez’ equalizer in the 36th, Dwyer recaptured the lead with a mirror image goal, this time from Sutter on the right wing. It was Dwyer’s 11th career MLS brace and gave Toia a career-high three assists this season.

Martínez scored his second goal of the game to level the score in the 55th minute, but Larin put the Lions ahead for a third time just three minutes later. Dwyer served an in-swinging cross to the far post that Larin headed off the ground and past a diving Brad Guzan at the near post.

The goal extended Larin’s team lead and gave him goals in each of his last three appearances. It was Dwyer’s second MLS assist as a Lion.

Atlanta leveled the match in the 69th minute when Héctor Villalba found Martínez for the hat-trick.

Carlos Rivas came on for Powers to make his 27th appearance of the season, tying his MLS career-high set in 2015. Léo Pereira made his eighth appearance of the season when he entered for Spector in the second half. Former Lion Mikey Ambrose entered the match in the 88th minute.

The match was the third and final meeting of the season between the two teams, with the Lions taking two points from two games in Atlanta.

City finishes the road trip against the Portland Timbers on Sept. 24. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. ET at Providence Park and will be nationally televised on FS1. The Lions return to Orlando City Stadium on Wednesday, Sept. 27, to host the New England Revolution. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET.