Match Preview: Atlanta United vs. Seattle Sounders Saturday, August 6, 2022 Gonzalo Pineda

Atlanta United hosts Gonzalo Pineda’s former club Seattle Sounders on Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. ET and the game will be nationally broadcast.

Several defenders making their way back from injury will be available for selection on Saturday. Ronald Hernández and Brooks Lennon returned to training this week, joining Andrew Gutman as reinforcements to the backline. Gutman made his return to training a few weeks ago, and played minutes in last weekend’s match in Chicago. The depth helps with George Campbell expected to miss some time due to an adductor injury.

Also available is Edwin Mosquera. Atlanta United added the Colombian winger during the secondary transfer window. Although he arrived in Atlanta just this week, head coach Gonzalo Pineda said Mosquera has been training on his own and progressing faster than expected. The latest signing, who describes himself as a fast and flashy player, could make his debut for the 5-Stripes on Saturday.

Finally, Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium marks the final match for Darren Eales as president of Atlanta United. He announced in July that he’ll be departing the club to join the front office at Newcastle United in the English Premier League in his home country of England. Eales has been with Atlanta United since its inception. He’s meant so much to Atlanta’s success, and the club is so appreciative of all he's done – Atlanta United will be looking to send him off right on Saturday.

The Sound Wave

Seattle Sounders is a Western Conference club based in the Pacific Northwest. Seattle Sounders joined MLS in 2007 as an expansion club. The team played its inaugural season in 2009.

Like another Western Conference opponent that Atlanta United played recently, L.A. Galaxy, Seattle Sounders is one of the most successful franchises in MLS. Under head coach Brian Schmetzer, the Sounders made four MLS Cup Final appearances in five seasons and won two MLS Cup titles (2016, 2019). Most recently, Seattle won the Concacaf Champions League in May, becoming the first MLS club to lift the trophy.

Two members of Atlanta United have deep connections to Seattle Sounders. Pineda was an assistant coach for five seasons before becoming Atlanta United’s head coach last August. Ozzie Alonso, who signed with Atlanta United this offseason and is on the season-ending injury list, spent 10 seasons in Seattle and won six trophies during his time there.

  • Home venue: Lumen Field
  • Main colors: Sounder blue, rave green, cascade shale
  • Head coach: Brian Schmetzer
  • General Manager & President of Soccer: Garth Lagerwey
  • Actor and comedian Drew Carey is a member of the ownership group. Carey created the Alliance, which gives fans a voice in determining the club’s direction.

History Favors The Rave Green

This will be the fourth all-time meeting between Atlanta United and Seattle Sounders. In the previous matchups, the teams have tied three times and Seattle has won once. Atlanta United will be looking for its first-ever win over Seattle Sounders in the series history on Saturday.

The lone meeting between the two sides in the last three years came in May 2021. Atlanta United traveled west and conceded a goal early to Raúl Ruidíaz. The visitors fought back and Josef Martínez converted a penalty kick give the 5-Stripes a road result in a 1-1 draw at Lumen Field.

Josef-Martinez-ATLatSEA-2021

Master and Apprentice Duel At Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Seattle enters the match with a 10-11-2 record and 32 points in the Western Conference table. The midweek win over FC Dallas lifted Seattle above the playoff line and the team is now in 7th place. However, Portland Timbers, L.A. Galaxy, Colorado Rapids and Vancouver Whitecaps are all within five points of the Sounders and are climbing up the table.

The Sounders are unbeaten against Atlanta United in the series history but have struggled on the road in league play. Seattle has lost seven road matches this season, including its last three to LAFC, Chicago Fire and Nashville SC.

And the meaning of this match for the two men on the touchlines can’t be overlooked. Pineda credits Brian Schmetzer as his most influential coaching mentor. It’s the first time Pineda has gone up against his mentor and former team since he became the head coach of Atlanta United. The long-awaited reunion between master and apprentice may raise the stakes even higher for two teams very much in need of a win.

“I expect the best Sounders because I think they’re also in need of points,” Pineda said. “Knowing Brian is a very competitive coach, he wants to win this one, so I expect him to just man up. And they played on Tuesday, yes, but the Sounders are very resilient mentally. So, I expect the best Sounders.”

Gonzalo-Pineda-Pre-Seattle

Atlanta United Looking For Rhythm 

Last time out, Atlanta United went on the road and held Chicago Fire scoreless in a 0-0 draw at Soldier Field on July 30. It was the club’s fourth clean sheet of the season and second for goalkeeper Rocco Ríos Novo, who took over goalkeeping duties in June. 

However, the scoreless draw also meant the second straight match that Atlanta United didn’t score a goal. The 5-Stripes were shutout in the match prior to Chicago also, falling 2-0 to L.A. Galaxy on the road, meaning the last goal Atlanta United scored was Juanjo Purata’s header against Orlando City. 

Pineda says that the team isn't far off from finishing more chances and seeing the best version of an attack that includes Josef Martínez, Luiz Araújo and Thiago Almada. The head coach believes it all comes down to confidence, rhythm and belief. 

“I think the stats prove that we are one of the teams with more possession, more chances, more chances created, more shots, more possession in the final third, so the identity is clear,” Pineda said. “Now, we probably conceded more goals than we should have, and probably we didn’t score as many goals as we should have, but I think the team knows how we want to play.”

Key 2022 Stats and League Ranking
Atlanta United
Seattle Sounders
Possession
58.0% (2nd)
51.8% (10th)
Duel Percentage
52.4% (4th)
53.1% (2nd)
Key Passes
244 (1st)
179 (20th)
Pass Percentage
85.2% (1st)
83.6% (7th)

Players To Watch

Matheus Rossetto – The Brazilian has become a reliable presence in the midfield for the 5-Stripes. He’s started seven consecutive matches for Pineda, which brings his total to 17 starts on the season. Only Marcelino Moreno (22) has played more MLS games for Atlanta than Rossetto (19) this season. A major reason for that is Rossetto’s ability to distribute. He ranks third in the league in passing accuracy, completing 91.8 percent of his passes.

Matheus-Rossetto-Pre-Seattle

Nicolás Lodeiro – The designated player from Uruguay has been with the Sounders since 2016. He leads the team in assists this season (6) and is tied for second in goals scored behind team leader Jordan Morris. In Seattle's midweek win over FC Dallas, Lodeiro scored the lone goal from the penalty spot. He’s perfect from there, going 18-for-18 in regular season MLS play, which is good enough for best record in league history.

Other Tidbits

It’s a 3:00 p.m. ET kickoff for Atlanta United and Seattle Sounders on Saturday. Click here to learn all the ways to watch, listen and live stream the match.