2023 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs

Series Preview: Atlanta United travels to Columbus for Game 3 of Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs Round One Best-of-3 Series

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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:

First Touches

  • 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:

Don’t Doubt Atlanta Watch Party 🔴 ⚫

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.

Related Content

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.

Season Stats
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Atlanta United
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Leagues Cup

Leagues Cup

All of the clubs from MLS and Liga MX will compete in a completely reimagined Leagues Cup: an annual, month-long tournament that runs from July 26-August 25, 2024.

Resurgens Kit

Resurgens Kit

Blue is a nod to the renewal of Atlanta. Yellow represents Atlanta’s vibrant history and identity. This is Atlanta United's latest community kit.