Atlanta fans will be happy to see their team return to Mercedes-Benz Stadium this Wednesday night as ATL UTD hosts Western Conference leaders, Sporting Kansas City. Atlanta United (7-1-1) are looking to make it nine-straight unbeaten, while KC (6-2-2) is hoping to knock the home side off the Supporters’ Shield lead and sneak into number one slot. It’s the top of the East vs the best of the West. This is one you don’t want to miss. Secure your seat here.
The match kicks off at 7:30 p.m. EST and will be broadcast on FOX Sports South and FOX Sports GO. Click here for all the details on how to follow along with the match.
Atlanta United (7-1-1)
It’s been over two months now since Atlanta’s last loss and it still remains the sole blemish on their record as they ride an eight-match unbeaten streak. Their impressive run includes seven wins and a draw that have shot them up the Eastern Conference table, and after their most recent road win over the Chicago Fire this past weekend, Atlanta United now sit at the top of the Supporters’ Shield standings.
Not only have they garnered the most points in MLS through nine games, they also lead the league on the goalscoring front with 23 on the year. A chunk of that number has come from forward Josef Martinez who leads MLS with seven and Miguel Almirón who’s currently tied for second with six. And with his most recent stellar performance in the center of the park against Chicago, Almirón was named to the bench of the MLS Team of the Week, the sixth time he’s been either on the bench or starting XI of the weekly honor. The reigning MLS Player of the Month will be looking to a carry the momentum of a monster month into Wednesday.
While their electric attack has grabbed many of the headlines, their back line has been just as impressive during their unbeaten run. Only conceding five goals in their last eight games, Atlanta leads the league with a +13 goal differential on the year including three clean sheets. The back line led by captain Michael Parkhurst and goalkeeper Brad Guzan has remained consistently cohesive and solid, even as injuries have forced a number of lineup rotations. They will hope to tally another clean sheet and defend their unbeaten record in Mercedes-Benz Stadium as they host the Western Conference leaders on Wednesday.
Sporting KC (6-2-2)
Just as Atlanta have been on fire since their season-opening loss, Sporting KC have bounced back just the same, only dropping one match since their own opening defeat to NYCFC. Now sitting atop the Western Conference, KC are just two points back from taking the Supporters’ Shield lead and will be hoping to surpass Atlanta with a massive road victory on Wednesday night.
Despite the departure of their long-time attacking duo of Dom Dwyer and Benny Feilhaber, Sporting haven’t lost a step in 2018, just behind Atlanta for the most goals in the league so far with 21. Their impressive attacking prowess has been due in large part to their offseason pickups including Chilean international Felipe Gutierrez and Scottish forward Johnny Russell who each have five goals to their name. Unfortunately for KC, Gutierrez won’t be available on Wednesday because of a sports hernia surgery that will keep him out for a few months. But Russell will surely be in the lineup and Peter Vermes’s well-disciplined side will no doubt be a tough test for the home side.
But those aren’t the only other additions making significant impacts for KC. Former NYCFC forward Khiry Shelton has added energy, pace, and creative build-up play to the front line and Homegrown signing Daniel Salloi who made his first team debut last season has two goals and four assists from the wing already. The new faces have mixed in seamlessly with the household names like captain Matt Besler, defender Graham Zusi and midfielder Roger Espinoza who has five assists pulling the strings from the center of the park. A blend of old and new, SKC look refined and ready to make a run at hardware this season.
On Wednesday night, the top two teams in MLS face off in Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Make sure you tune in on FOX Sports South for the 7:30 p.m. EST kickoff, and for all the other ways to follow the match, click here.