Match Preview: Atlanta United vs. Inter Miami CF Sunday, June 19, 2022

Atlanta United returns to MLS competition with a matchup against Inter Miami CF at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday, June 19. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. ET. 

Atlanta United heads into Sunday’s match after a competitive warmup earlier in the week. On Tuesday, the 5-Stripes played a friendly against CF Pachuca at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Atlanta United beat the Liga MX regular season champs 3-2 to hoist the first-ever American Family Insurance Cup trophy.  

Leading up to the American Family Insurance Cup, head coach Gonzalo Pineda said that part of the approach was for Tuesday’s match to serve as a warmup for the team’s important next stretch of MLS play. Now, Atlanta United heads into its first MLS match since the international break with a rhythm found in the midweek, three-goal performance. 

"After this victory against Pachuca, it was a good test for us against a very good opponent,” Pineda said. “The team is playing good football. They’re enjoying playing football, to attack and be able to reproduce that every match.”

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No Pineda, No Almada

Atlanta United will be without their gaffer this weekend after Pineda was shown a red card during the team’s last MLS match against Columbus Crew on May 28.

In Pineda’s stead, Atlanta will rely on a collective effort. Assistant coach Rob Valentino will serve the main role on the bench, but other assistant coaches, including Diego de la Torre and Eugenio Villazón, will pitch in also. But the biggest force Pineda called on to step up during his absence was the players.

“Once the referee blows the whistle, the players are in control of everything,” Pineda said.

The club will also be without one of its key playmakers, Thiago Almada. MLS issued the midfielder was Argentina a three-match suspension following the final whistle against Columbus. The next match Almada will be available for is July 3 against New York City FC.

Atlanta United’s Key Moment

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Atlanta United currently sits in 11th place in the Eastern Conference standings. The club has a 4-5-4 record in MLS competition and has earned 16 points in 13 matches played.

Although there’s ground to cover in the table, Pineda feels confident his team is playing good football. During the international break, Atlanta focused on fixing some details that will help them close out games. But it’s hitting the point in the season when the team is starting to feel more urgency, and Sunday is an important match in terms of getting a result. It’s the last home match before Atlanta United embarks on a three-match road trip to face conference opponents, all at challenging venues.

We’re in a key moment of the season,” Pineda said. “We’re kind of in the middle, one-third of the season and we have to start to catch up with points in order to qualify and start to stay above the playoff line.”

Celebrating Juneteenth and Fathers

Sunday, June 19 is a special day. It’s Juneteenth, the historic date commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African-Americans in the U.S. and Atlanta United will be honoring the occasion on the pitch.

On their jerseys, Atlanta United and Inter Miami players will be wearing special numbers designed by Judah “Tip” Middleton. The hand-drawn design represents Black influence in culture and emphasizes that we are stronger together. Following the match, the player-worn jerseys will be available to supporters via an online auction running from June 20-July 5. Proceeds from the auction will go to the Morehouse University Foundation in Atlanta, Ga.

Sunday is also Father’s Day, and it’s not too late to find the perfect gift! Tickets are still available for our Father’s Day Ticket Pack, which includes tickets to Sunday’s match.

A Team With Belief

Atlanta United will face a confident and capable visiting side on Sunday. Entering the match, Inter Miami sits just two points above Atlanta United in the Eastern Conference standings, but Phil Neville’s team hasn’t lost in its last four MLS matches.

Prior to the international break, Miami won its last two MLS matches with back-to-back wins over Portland Timbers and New York Red Bulls. Miami scored a total of four goals in those two matches and earned a clean sheet against the Red Bulls.

“They are a team that has belief,” Pineda said.

However, both of those wins occurred at DRV PNK Stadium. Inter Miami is a different team on the road and has sometimes struggled to earn points. The club has lost nine of its last 12 road matches. On the other side, Atlanta United plays well at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, having recently gone unbeaten at the venue in 13 straight before the 2-1 loss to Columbus Crew.

Managing Miami’s Counters 

Inter Miami isn’t necessarily a flashy team, as Pineda described them, but a team that dominates possession and can be dangerous in transition. They have a strong counterattack that features forward Leonardo Campana, who scored against Atlanta in the last matchup, and speedy wingers on the flanks. 

“They’re very well-organized, very well-coached, so it’s going to be a difficult task for us,” Pineda said.  

The two clubs always play each other remarkably close. All eight meetings have been either draws or decided by one goal, including the first matchup of the season on April 24. Atlanta United got on the board first thanks to an early goal from striker Ronaldo Cisnersos. However, Miami came-from-behind to win 2-1 at home and pick up three points. 

Atlanta United will look to be a little more prepared in the second and final meeting this season between the two Eastern Conference sides.  

“We’re not facing it the same way,” Pineda said. “We’re going to try to attack, try to commit a lot of numbers on the front foot while we try to be cautious also with protecting ourselves against the counter.”

Key 2022 Stats and League Ranking
Atlanta United
Inter Miami CF
Passing Percentage
85.3% (1st)
80.3% (18th)
Duel Percentage
51.8% (10th)
53.6% (3rd)
Goals Scored
20
15
Key Passes
149 (1st)
120 (12th)

Players To Watch

Josef Martínez – The Atlanta United striker made his return on May 28 in the match against Columbus Crew then went on to start the team’s next match against CF Pachuca on Tuesday. Martínez scored the opening goal in the fifth minute, then recorded an assist on Atlanta United's second. The performance was reminiscent of some of Martínez’s best play and earned him Man of the Match honors.

Leonardo Campana – The Ecuadorian international, who was recently called up to play for his home country in their friendlies leading up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, has produced for Inter Miami. The 21-year-old has scored seven goals and recorded one assist for the Herons in MLS play. He most recently scored in Miami’s 2-1 win over Portland, which preserved the team’s four match unbeaten streak.

Other Tidbits

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