Atlanta United defender George Campbell #32 celebrates after scoring the first goal of the match against Orlando City at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Friday September 10, 2021. (Photo by Jacob Gonzalez/Atlanta United)

Atlanta United defeated Orlando City SC 3-0 Friday night in front of 42,507 fans at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Homegrown defender George Campbell scored his first MLS goal, Ezequiel Barco netted his fifth goal of the season and Gonzalo Pineda earned his first win as a head coach. Behind two saves from goalkeeper Brad Guzan, Atlanta United posted its sixth clean sheet of the season.

Atlanta’s attacking trio of Barco, Luiz Araújo and Marcelino Moreno opened the match displaying a strong connection in the final third, combining for several chances and threatening Orlando’s goal. Araújo nearly opened the scoring in the fourth minute when he dribbled uncontested from the right side towards the top of the box where he unleashed a curling strike that clattered off the left post. Minutes later, Matheus Rossetto forced a diving save from Adam Grinwis with a shot from distance in the ninth minute.

Campbell grabbed the lead for Atlanta in the 25th minute. Orlando conceded a corner kick on the far side which was taken short by Moreno to Barco. He immediately returned the ball to Moreno, who whipped in a cross to the center of the box. Campbell ventured up the field and attacked the ball at the penalty spot, perfectly placing a header into the left side of the goal for the 1-0 lead.

Atlanta doubled its lead from a set piece in the 38th minute. Barco delivered a free kick from the left side towards the near post which deflected off Orlando’s Nani and Daryl Dike before bouncing into the net for an own goal.

Despite having firm control of the match, Atlanta pressed for more goals in the second half and continued to pile pressure on Orlando’s defense. That pursuit eventually gave way to the home side’s third goal of the match, which began with a long ball from Brooks Lennon over the top of Orlando’s backline. Barco brought the ball down inside the penalty area and dribbled to his right, avoiding three defenders on his way to slotting home a low shot to the right corner.

Atlanta (7-7-9, 30 points) returns to action Wednesday, Sept. 15 when it hosts FC Cincinnati at Mercedes-Benz Stadium (7:00 p.m., Bally Sports Southeast, Sports Radio 92-9 The Game, La Mejor).

-Jon J.

Photo: Courtesy of ATL UTD

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