Atlanta United returns to MLS action following the latest International Break with a home match against Eastern Conference foe Inter Miami CF. It will mark the second and final regular season meeting between the two sides. Miami earned a 2-1 win in the first meeting at DRV PNK Stadium and the 5-Stripes will look to even the season series on Sunday. Atlanta enters the match with 16 points (13 matches played), two points behind Miami (14 matches played). The all-time series between the sides sees Miami hold a slight advantage with a 3-2-3 (W-L-T) record. Let’s take a look at the Tools to the Match presented by The Home Depot against Inter Miami CF.
Continue Creating Shots and Chances
Atlanta United enters this weekend’s action as the league leaders with 149 key passes (chances created) and the most shot creating actions per 90 minutes (25.92 per match). The attack has found a good rhythm, scoring nine goals in its last four MLS matches. The 5-Stripes are coming off a three-goal effort in midweek when they defeated CF Pachuca as Josef Martinez, Luiz Araujo and Dom Dwyer all found the back of the net.
Atlanta has found success in a variety of ways in the attack so far in 2022. Whether it’s through successful crosses or corners - Atlanta ranks second in MLS with 84 successful crosses/corners - or with through balls that cut open the defense, Atlanta leads MLS with 29 through balls recorded this season, the 5-Stripes are continuing to create those opportunities. Taking advantage of those and having the attack continue to click on all cylinders will be a big key for success on Sunday afternoon against Miami.
Keep Close Tabs on Campana and Co.
Inter Miami’s attack has found the most success playing through their main striker Leonardo Campana. The Ecuadorian striker, who is looking to make his country's squad for the FIFA World Cup in November, has scored nearly half of Miami’s goals this season. His seven goals scored rank him tied for fourth in all of MLS. Campana was on the scoresheet in the first meeting with Atlanta earlier this season. Miami features several other players who can decide a match that Atlanta’s defense will need to be aware of. Ariel Lassiter leads the team with three assists, while Designated Player Gonzalo Higuain shares the team lead with 16 key passes played so far this campaign. Atlanta’s backline will play a key role in securing three points at home this weekend by shutting out Campana and company.
Feed The King
Josef Martinez was back on the scoresheet in midweek against CF Pachuca and the Venezuelan striker celebrated with a smile. He later assisted on a goal by Luiz Araujo and let out a jubilant scream that was music to Atlanta United fans’ ears. The King looks to be physically back to 100 percent. Head Coach Gonzalo Pineda noticed a difference as well.
“Now he is back to 100 percent physically, so now he can put this type of performance together that was very good not only on the soccer side but as a leader. I think he was a good captain, he was the guy that was lifting spirits, leading the press, talking to his teammates and making them accountable of things and that is the type of Josef we all love and want.”
Atlanta’s talisman will be looking to add to his 91 career MLS Regular Season goals on Sunday in front of the 17s.
Fans can tune in to the match vs. Inter Miami CF nationally on ESPN2 with kickoff set for 3pm ET. To tune in on radio fans can listen to Sports Radio 92.9 The Game (English) or La Mejor Atlanta AM 1600 (Spanish).