It's everything to play for as the 5-Stripes head back to Ohio for a decisive Game 3 of the Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs Round One Best-of-3 Series. 6-seed Atlanta United faces the 3-seed in the conference Columbus Crew on Sunday, Nov 12 at 7:00 p.m.
Here are a few things to know about the series as we head into Game 3:
- Game 3 is a must-win match. Whichever side wins Sunday will advance to the single-elimination conference semifinals. | More on this year's playoff format
- Columbus won the first match 2-0 and Atlanta evened the series with a 4-2 win at home on Tuesday.
- Atlanta United will wear the Forest Kit for Game 3. | Learn the story of the kit
Schedule for Round One Best-of-3 series between No. 6 Atlanta United vs. No. 3 Columbus Crew:
- Game 1: Wednesday, Nov. 1 at Lower.com Field | Match Recap: Atlanta United falls to Columbus Crew in series opener
- Game 2: Tuesday, Nov. 7 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium | Match Recap: How Atlanta United evened the series
- Game 3: Sunday, Nov. 12 at 7:00 p.m. at Lower.com Field (MLS Season Pass on Apple TV, Star 94)
Don’t Doubt Atlanta Watch Party 🔴 ⚫
Get hype and join us at CODA Square in Midtown to watch Atlanta United face-off against Columbus Crew in the Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs. Watch party begins at 6:00pm with kickoff on the BIG screen at 7:00 p.m.!
About the Best-of 3 Series
The Best-of-3 series is new this year for MLS. Here are a few rules to consider heading into it, per MLSSoccer.com:
- Win-only: Every Round One game will have a winner. There are no ties, no aggregate score.
- PK shootout: If a Round One game is tied at the end of regulation time (90 minutes), no extra time will be played. There will immediately be a penalty kick shootout to determine the winner.
- Best-of-3: The first team to win two matches will advance.
- Tools to the Match: How Atlanta United wins decisive Game 3 in Columbus
- How To Watch: Game 3 of Round One Best-of-3 series between Atlanta United and Columbus Crew
- Gonzalo Pineda speaks Friday prior to Columbus | Watch media availability
- Atlanta United evens playoff series with statement win over Columbus Crew
- Atlanta United falls to Columbus Crew 2-0 in series opener
- What does Round One of Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs look like for Atlanta United?
- Everything you need about the MLS Cup Playoffs: Visit our Playoff Central page
Atlanta United evens the series with Game 2
Columbus Crew took the lead in the series, winning 2-0 at Lower.com Field last weekend, making Game 2 a must-win match for Atlanta United to continue the series. The 5-Stripes answered the call and came roaring back Tuesday night with an exciting 4-2 win over Columbus at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. It marked Atlanta's first victory over Columbus Crew in four total meetings this year and gives the visitors confidence heading into Ohio where the Crew have been very successful.
The challenge of Lower.com Field
In order to move on to the conference semifinals, Atlanta United will have to beat Columbus Crew in Ohio, which is no easy task. The Crew have won both home matches against Atlanta United this year, including the 2-0 win in Game 1. Columbus is unbeaten in 16 straight home matches in all competitions and has lost just one of its last 28 matches at Lower.com Field dating back to August 2022. But one factor in Atlanta's favor is the availability of World Cup winner, Thiago Almada. The Argentine didn't play in either of Atlanta's losses at Lower.com Field this season, including Game 1 which he missed due to a red card suspension, so he'll face the Crew in Ohio for the first time this year on Sunday.
Players to Watch
Giorgos Giakoumakis (Atlanta United): The Greek striker had a career night in Atlanta's win in Game 2 Tuesday, contributing to three of the team's four goals and nearly adding another that Xande Silva skied over goal. Giakoumakis, who was named the MLS Newcomer of the Year, brings the competitive fire to this Atlanta United team and will look to lead his club to the next round of the MLS Cup Playoffs.
Cucho Hernández (Columbus Crew): The player to keep an eye on for the Crew remains Cucho Hernández, the 24-year-old from Colombia. The striker started the series with a brace at Lower.com Field then added on in Game 2 with a goal on a low-driven shot in the first half. He's scored three of the Crew's four goals in the series and remains one of the biggest threats for Atlanta United's defense.
Shots on Goal