Atlanta United are champing at the bit to get back into regular MLS action, and while their Mercedes-Benz Stadium homecoming will have to wait another week, they return to the pitch this weekend in Foxborough as they take on the New England Revolution. The Five Stripes are still looking for their first MLS win of the season, but they’ll be hoping to use recent recovery and training time to their advantage and start this next stretch of matches on a positive note.
The two Eastern Conference sides will kick off at 7:30 p.m. EST on Saturday, April 13th. Click here for all you need to know on how to tune in to the match.
Atlanta United (0-2-2)
Atlanta United may have gotten off to a slow start, but this is a team with plenty of talent –– and they’ll be hoping they can show that to the fullest once they get their rhythm together as a group. With just one water-logged match in the past three weeks, the team is eager to show what they’ve been practicing on at the training pitch, and demonstrate that they’re still contenders in the Eastern Conference.
The reigning MVP Josef Martinez will be expected to lead the line, and fans know he will be hungry to add to his goal tally for the season just like he did the last time the team travelled to Gillette Stadium. Pity Martinez has been training this week following an injury scare on international duty, but Frank De Boer will have plenty of other options in the likes of Tito Villalba and Ezequiel Barco if he doesn’t want to risk rushing him back. The same goes in the back –– while Mikey Ambrose has been ruled out with a knee injury, Franco Escobar and Florentin Pogba have both returned to full training. Only the coaching staff and medical team know if they’re ready to start, so the fans and opposing coaches will have to keep guessing until matchday.
Whoever lines up, it will be a Five Stripes team eager to get back to winning ways. They may sit on the bottom of the standings, but they have two matches in hand on the rest of the league –– win those and they’re back up in the playoff spots. After a stop-and-start beginning of the season, the team is ready to get back out on the pitch, make up those matches and prove they’re a better team than their current spot in the standings.
New England Revolution (1-4-1)
One of the teams Atlanta United will be hoping to leapfrog in the standings is the New England Revolution, and a win this weekend would do just that. Coming off a road loss in Columbus last weekend, the Revs have just one win so far this year. So just like Atlanta United, the Revolution are eager to get a win that would push them up the standings.
The Revolution play a hard-nosed, physical defensive style that comes straight from the top in head coach and former U.S. National Team goalkeeper Brad Friedel. Now in his second year leading the squad, Friedel has preached a physical style of play from the start, with a grittiness that makes any team earn their win in Foxborough. Their biggest threat is a new Designated Player signing in the midfield that can turn any game on its head. Carles Gil –– coming off a six-year stint in the Premier League and LaLiga –– brings a dynamic, creative attacking talent who is just as comfortable scoring as he is setting up for others. He will be looking to feed Teal Bunbury and Juan Agudelo in the forward line, both proven goalscorers in MLS.
In the back, it will be another new face that will be providing attacking flair from the fullback position. Edgar Castillo, who joined the Revs after an impressive year in Colorado with the Rapids last year, will be a constant outlet looking to get forward and whip in services for his center forward pairing. With former Premier League defender Michael Mancienne suspended for the match due to a red card against Columbus last week, there could be vulnerabilities the Atlanta United attack can exploit in behind Castillo and a makeshift back line. If the Five Stripes can do that, they could show the attacking force they can be and get their first three-point performance of the season.
Saturday’s match kicks off at 7:30 p.m. EST and will be broadcast on FOX Sports Southeast and FOX Sports Go. You can also listen in on 92.9 The Game or the Atlanta United App. Click here for everything you need to know about how to follow the match.