In Atlanta United’s world, Gerardo Martino is Super Mario and Orlando City SC are just a bunch of Goombas and Koopas.
Not sure what those things are? Step in a time machine to 1985. Plug in the NES and blow out the cartridge.
That’s what Atlanta United’s digital content team this week, ahead of the Five Stripes’ clash with the Lions of Orlando. In a video posted to Twitter that lasts one minute and 42 seconds, Atlanta United trolled Orlando City by subbing out Mario — the Italian plumber who can do incredible things like save princesses, ride dinosaurs and transport through tunnels when he eats mushrooms — for their beloved tactician manager, El Tata.
Mario and Martino look alike, right? Well in a 16-bit world, they do.
Instead of Mario’s red hat and blue overalls, the hero is wearing a Five Stripes jersey, black pants and brown boots. The only thing that’s missing is the sweater the Argentine manager wears around his neck during chilly games in Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
A quest for the crown 👑🍑
Do you have what it takes to be Kings of the South? pic.twitter.com/dUHB1fNHds
— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) August 22, 2018
The digitized Martino’s first job is to make it through the first stage “Orlando 5-13.” To reflect Atlanta’s two goals from its May 13 win over Orlando, Martino pounces on a Koopa, which is wearing a soccer ball as a shell. He then jumps on it again to kick the soccer ball into a Goomba, which has Orlando’s Lion logo plastered over it.
A roar is heard as the Lion falls to its death, and a “Martinez ‘11” pops up in the clouds as Martino continues his trek. Instead of using Mario’s mushroom for super strength, Martino powers up by using a Golden Spike. It’s unclear which Atlanta celebrity was pounding in these spikes, but one can assume it was Killer Mike or Evander Holyfield.
To score the next goal, Martino hits a brick to make a soccer ball pop out, which he then strikes, knocking out an Orlando boss, to imitate Ezequiel Barco’s goal in the 31st minute of that match. Martino reaches a purple and white Disney-like castle and raises an Atlanta United flag atop it.
Reliving Atlanta’s second win of the season over Orlando, the Five Stripes’ social media wizards take us into “Super Martino Bros. 2.” This time, he’s joined by friends, and we live out the second match through Josef Martinez, who looks quite a lot like Super Mario’s short and stout friend, Toad. Martinez is just 5-foot-7, after all.
Like Atlanta United did on June 30, Martinez quickly makes his way through the level with little trouble, resembling the Five Stripes’ 4-0 victory that day.
As of Thursday night, the video had been viewed more than 75,000 times on Twitter, retweeted nearly 1,000 times and liked more than 2,700 times.
The only thing missing from the clip were appearances by Yoshi, Mario’s trusted dinosaur steed, and Yoshimar Yotún, arguably Orlando’s best player.
Atlanta United has never lost to Orlando City, beating them three times and drawing them twice in five meetings. Their sixth meeting tips off Friday night at 8 p.m.