Atlanta United is back in MLS action this weekend when it travels to Fort Lauderdale to take on Inter Miami CF. Coming off a 3-1 defeat at Nashville last weekend, Atlanta is looking to bounce back in a big way and stay among the top teams in the Eastern Conference standings. Miami just snapped a long losing streak last weekend with a road win and will look to carry that momentum over to Saturday night’s clash. The all-time series between the two sides stands at 3-3-3 (W-L-T) coming into Saturday’s match. Let’s take a closer look at the Tools to the Match presented by The Home Depot against Inter Miami CF.
Continue to convert possession into goals
Heading into Matchday 11, Atlanta ranks among the top teams in MLS in terms of possession and goals scored. Atlanta controls the ball 55.4% of the time over the course of the season, which is the third-highest possession stat in the league. The team has netted 19 goals so far this campaign, which is tied for the second-highest total in MLS ahead of this weekend’s action. The 5-Stripes are the only team to have scored at least one goal in each of its first 10 matches this season.
Eight of the team’s 19 goals have come on the road this year, which is the highest tally for any Eastern Conference team, trailing only St. Louis (10) for the overall MLS lead in goals scored on the road. Atlanta will be looking to add to its tally when it faces one of the tougher defenses in the league this weekend. Miami has only conceded 10 goals in nine total matches this year. If Atlanta can impose its attacking-style of play with a lot of possession that turns into scoring chances, the 5-Stripes will bring home three points from Miami.
Keep Miami’s attack in check
Inter Miami snapped a six-match losing streak last weekend with a 2-1 win at Columbus Crew. Leonardo Campana made a welcome return to the scoresheet for Miami as the DP striker netted his first two goals of the season after missing some time due to injury earlier this year. Miami had only managed two goals during the six-match winless run. In Miami’s nine matches this season, they have scored two goals in three of those matches and been shutout in the remaining six contests.
Miami spent a lot of money in the offseason to bolster its attack with the signings of Nicolas Stefanelli and former Atlanta United star striker Josef Martinez. Stefanelli has scored one goal, while Martinez has not found the scoresheet yet. Atlanta’s defense, which is looking for its third clean sheet on the season, will have to make sure to cut off the service from midfield into the strikers in order to be successful. Both Campana and Martinez have proven to be excellent finishers when given even the smallest looks on goal. If Atlanta can limit their chances in and around the box, that will be a big step towards securing three points.
Utilize the flanks and provide space in middle for Almada to create
In the early parts of the season, Atlanta got great production from its wide players. Caleb Wiley had a great start to the season down the left flank, while Luiz Araujo was lively down the right flank. Their play gave room in the middle of the pitch for Thiago Almada to operate and create scoring chances for himself and his teammates. Since joining MLS last season, Almada ranks fourth with 107 created chances. He has five goals and six assists this season, which is the most goals + assists in the league after he scored last weekend. The 5-Stripes will look to exploit their advantages down the flanks this weekend once again and if they are able to do that then it will give the team the best chance to bring three points back to Atlanta.
Fans can tune in nationally on MLS Season Pass on the Apple TV app on Saturday night at 7:30pm ET when the action kicks off at DRV PNK Stadium. To hear the action on radio, tune into Sports Radio 92.9 The Game (English) or La Mejor – AM 1600 (Spanish).
- Match Preview: Atlanta United heads to South Florida for matchup against Inter Miami CF.
- Closing out the transfer window with Carlos Bocanegra | This week's Training Notebook
- Who's in and who's out against Inter Miami? View this week's Availability Report presented by Piedmont.
- Making the trip to Fort Lauderdale? Visit our Traveling Supporters Guide presented by 76 for things to do and matchday conditions.