Atlanta United midfielder Thiago Almada #8 dribbles the ball during the match against Orlando City at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, United States on Wednesday September 14, 2022. (Photo by Dakota Williams/Atlanta United)

Atlanta United defeated Orlando City SC 1-0 Wednesday night at Exploria Stadium, thanks to another impressive goal from Thiago Almada. The clean-sheet victory marks the first time that Atlanta has won consecutive matches this season and moves the team to within two points of the playoff line with three games remaining.

Despite Orlando having the bulk of the possession in the first half, Atlanta nearly opened the scoring through Luiz Araújo in the 36th minute. The forward rounded Pedro Gallese after being sent on a run but his rolling shot was cleared off the line by Orlando’s Kyle Smith.

A quick passing sequence from Almada and Dom Dwyer created a 1 v 1 opportunity with Gallese and Andrew Gutman in first-half stoppage time. It took a sprawling save from the Orlando goalkeeper to keep the defender off the scoresheet.

The deadlock was finally broken in the 72nd minute through Almada. Gutman played a one-two with Almada on the edge of the box, playing the Argentine into the penalty area. With close control of the ball, Almada sat Antônio Carlos and quickly finessed a shot into the top corner.

“It was a wall-pass with Andrew. I don’t know how he was there,” said Almada after the match about his goal. “He returned if perfectly. My first touch was a little long, I wanted to pass it to Josef but then I dribbled and was one-on-one with the goalkeeper.”

Raúl Gudiño and the Atlanta defense held strong late in the matchup, facing 10 unanswered shots from the hosts; however, Orlando could not find an answer, resulting in a clean sheet and Atlanta United’s first win at Exploria Stadium since 2019.

Atlanta (10-12-9, 39 points) returns to Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia to face off against Philadelphia Union on Saturday, Sept. 17 (3:30 p.m., UniMás, TUDN, Twitter, Sports Radio 92-9 The Game, La Mejor).

-Jon Jones

Photo: Courtesy of ATL UTD

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