Jacksonville Sports Day

MLS RECAP: Nani’s 87th Minute Game-Winner Leads Lions Over Atlanta United

ORLANDO – Orlando City SC (8-4-4, 28 points) battled back from two separate deficits to earn a 3-2 victory over Atlanta United FC (2-6-8, 14 points) on Friday night at Exploria Stadium, now sitting at six-straight unbeaten against its neighbors to the north.

The match was decided thanks to an 87th minute game-winner from Nani, with Silvester van der Water and Kyle Smith each getting on the board for the Lions as well, the latter scoring his first goal for the Club.

Nani extended his team lead with his eighth goal of the season in the match and his third game-winner for a team high. The City captain also tallied his fifth assist of the year, his 23rd in all competitions as a Lion, now holding sole possession of that record in Club history to pass teammate Chris Mueller (22) and former Club captain Káka.

Smith scored his first goal for the Club on the night. Dubbed “El Soldado,” Smith has started every match for City this year, the only player on the side to do so.

van der Water found the back of the net for the second time this year while also logging the assist on Nani’s 87th minute game-winner for his third helper of the season

Homegrown goalkeeper Mason Stajduhar made his MLS debut in the match, having to make just one save through 90 minutes of play.

Stajduhar serves as the fourth Homegrown for the Lions to appear for the side this season, following David Loera’s 2021 debut in New York City last weekend.

The Lions return home on Wednesday, Aug. 4 to Exploria Stadium to face intrastate foes Inter Miami CF.

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