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Atlanta United hosts Chicago Fire FC at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. ET.

Returning to Mercedes-Benz Stadium presents a good opportunity for Atlanta United to turn the page after a challenging stretch on the schedule. In April, the team picked up four points in five MLS matches and scored just three goals.

Moving forward, Atlanta United will play four of its next five MLS matches at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. It’s a more favorable stretch and a good chance for the club to pick up points. The team is unbeaten in its last 11 games at Mercedes-Benz Stadium dating back to last season. Saturday is the first match there in three weeks since the team played FC Cincinnati to a 0-0 draw on April 16.

Up first, a club that’s never earned a point in Atlanta. Chicago Fire FC has had its own stretch of poor results, going winless in its last five MLS matches. Chicago Fire has scored just six goals this season, but has allowed only seven, tied for second-fewest goals allowed in MLS.

Atlanta United continues to be one of the best in the league with possession and creating scoring opportunities. Entering this weekend, the team is tied for first in MLS in chances created (93). The club also ranks among the best in total scoring attempts (130) and leads the league in corners taken (63).

The story for Atlanta United lately has been whether it can finish off those chances by improving on the final pass or being more clinical with their shooting touch. So, with Luiz Araújo getting more comfortable and Dom Dwyer back at training, could Atlanta United have a big-time performance in them soon? Head coach Gonzalo Pineda feels confident.

“We’re sticking with the same style, we’re trying to play the same,” Pineda said. “We’re one of the best teams in possession. We’re trying to disrupt every team we face. That’s how we attack, that’s how we create chances. We are working obviously on creating better chances. We are perfecting this.”

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About The Opponent

Chicago Fire FC is an Eastern Conference club based in Chicago, Ill. It was announced in 1997 that the club would be one of the first expansion teams in MLS. Chicago played its inaugural season in 1998 and found early success, winning the MLS Cup in its first season. The club also won the MLS Supporters’ Shield in 2003 and has four U.S. Open Cup titles to its name (1998, 2000, 2003, 2006).

The team is named after the Great Chicago Fire, an extensive fire that smoldered the city in 1871 to become one of the most notorious urban fires in American history. The club announced its name on October 8, 1997, the 126th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire.

The club plays its home matches at Soldier Field, a well-known venue on the lakefront in Chicago that the club shares with the Chicago Bears, the NFL team. Chicago Fire’s primary colors are red, blue and white.

Chicago Fire FC is managed by Ezra Hendrickson, a former collegiate player and professional in MLS. Before being announced as the manager in Chicago, Hendrickson was a long-time assistant with several MLS clubs, including the Seattle Sounders where Pineda started his coaching career.

“Ezra is a very good coach that knows how to get the best out of players,” Pineda said. “They’re going to be pretty well-organized. They’re going to know how to find each other and how to organize the defense as well.”

Series History

This will be the 10th all-time meeting between the two sides. The series is split evenly, with both Atlanta and Chicago both taking five matches each.

The home side usually has the advantage in this series, winning eight of the nine MLS meetings including the last six in a row. When Chicago visits on Saturday, the club will be looking for its first-ever point in Atlanta. The Fire have lost their four previous visits by a combined 11-2.

The last meeting between Atlanta United and Chicago Fire FC was last summer, and the home side won that match as well. Atlanta United traveled to Soldier Field on July 3, 2021 and fell 3-0.

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2022 So Far...

One point currently separates Atlanta United and Chicago Fire FC in the conference standings. However, Atlanta United is in eighth place and Chicago Fire is all the way in 13th, which shows how tightly the Eastern Conference is running so far in 2022.

Both teams enter Saturday coming off 2-1 losses. The Fire are winless in their last five matches. Prior to that unlucky run, Chicago had consecutive wins over D.C. United and Sporting Kansas City. It’s no surprise that the team fares better when it scores goals. Chicago has won only two of its last 11 games dating back to last season. In the two wins, Chicago scored five goals whereas in the other nine matches the team scored just once.

Meanwhile, Atlanta United is looking to move forward after two consecutive 2-1 road losses to Inter Miami and CF Montréal. Several factors, including injuries and international duty, have prevented Pineda from having a consistent lineup through the first nine matches. Just this week, Dwyer and midfielder Santiago Sosa were back at training after not appearing in the CF Montréal match.

Injuries and player availability might create a challenge week-to-week, but that part of the process doesn’t deter the head coach.

“The consistency of the lineups and how we can have more cohesion is part of this growth, but I think we’re in a good spot in terms of pivotal playing style,” Pineda said.

Key 2022 Stats and League Ranking
Atlanta United
Chicago Fire FC
Passing Percentage
84.5% (T-2nd)
75.9% (23rd)
Duel Percentage
52.2% (8th)
50.1% (T-15th)
Goals For
11
6
Goals Against
13
7

Milestones Within Reach

  • Atlanta United is unbeaten in 11 straight home matches going back to last season. Including playoffs, it’s the second-longest active home unbeaten run in MLS and the fourth time Atlanta has had a double-digit home unbeaten streak since joining MLS in 2017.

Players To Watch

Luiz Araújo – The designated player from Brazil is one of the most important members of Atlanta United’s attack. He scored the team’s first goal of 2022 and contributed four goals in 15 appearances last season for the squad. Last week against CF Montréal was Araújo’s first start back from injury, so Pineda expects Araújo to understand his teammates’ movements and connect with them more often this time around.

Marcelino Moreno – The midfielder from Argentina has been an integral part of Atlanta United’s attack. He scored two of Atlanta’s three goals during MLS competition during April and has been involved in 21 MLS goals (13 goals, eight assists) during his time in Atlanta, more than any other player on the team since he debuted in October 2020. Moreno’s ability to create will be a key factor of Atlanta United’s production this weekend.

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Kacper Przybylko – The German played three seasons for Philadelphia Union before the Fire landed him in a trade back in January. Przybylko is a tall striker, and his 6-foot-4 height poses a aerial threat. In three matches against Atlanta last year, Przybylko scored four goals, and he’s scored two goals for Chicago so far this season. Atlanta’s backline will need to keep tabs on Przybylko on Saturday, especially on set pieces. 

Jonathan Bornstein– The senior defender has made seven appearances this season for Chicago Fire, and one more will bring him closer to making league history. His next appearance will mark his 200th in MLS, including regular season and playoffs, which will make him one of the oldest players to reach the milestone. Only three players have reached 200 appearances at a later age than Borstein (Pat Onstad, Preki, Donovan Ricketts). 

Other Tidbits 

It’s a 6:00 p.m. ET kickoff for Atlanta United and Chicago Fire FC on Saturday. Click here to learn all the ways to watch, listen and live stream the match.

Atlanta United vs. Chicago Fire FC

Atlanta United vs. Chicago Fire FC

Everything you need to know about the match including lineups, stats, latest stories and real-time updates.