Tools to the Match

Tools to the Match: How Atlanta keeps home winning streak going this Sunday 


Atlanta United returns to Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday afternoon to take on the Philadelphia Union. It will be the fourth home match of the season and Atlanta is 3-0-0 (W-L-T) so far in 2024, outscoring opponents 9-1 in the process. This weekend’s opponent will be the most formidable one so far as the Union are the last undefeated team left in MLS. This matchup has been tightly contested over the years with the all-time series in regular season play sitting at 5-5-5. Atlanta has scored 19 times in those 12 matches, while the Union have scored 17 goals. The 5-Stripes are coming off a 1-1 draw against NYCFC last weekend. Atlanta has never started a season with four-straight home victories. Let’s take a look at the Tools to the Match presented by the Home Depot against Philadelphia Union.

Showcase depth of squad and feed off crowd energy at home

With the next two matches both at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta is looking to feed off the incredible energy that the 17s provide on a week in and week out basis. Once again leading the league in average attendance, Mercedes-Benz Stadium has turned into one of the biggest home field advantages in the league. The 5-Stripes are 3-0-0 this season at home to start the campaign, tying their best home start to a season with the 2018 squad. In order to remain perfect at home, the team will be once again looking for contributions from the entire roster.

With Derrick Williams and Jamal Thiaré picking up injuries last weekend, this provides another opportunity for the squad’s depth to step up. The club worked hard in the offseason and in preseason to develop depth and that will be called upon this weekend. If Atlanta can get contributions from its depth, it will have a good chance to maintain that perfect home record.

Disrupt Philadelphia’s attack, which has found its form lately

After three draws and elimination in the Concacaf Champions’ Cup early on, Philadelphia has turned things around in a hurry with three consecutive victories, including two on the road at Portland and Nashville. The Union feature a core group of players that have been together for several years now and continue to produce at a high level. Striker Julian Carranza is tied for the team lead with four goals alongside Daniel Gazdag. His strike partner Mikael Uhre has bagged two goals this season. Philadelphia plays a unique style, with a 4-4-2 diamond shape that you don’t see often in MLS. Atlanta’s defense and midfield need to make sure to disrupt the Union’s attacks and not allow Carranza to get clean looks in front of goal. If they can keep him and Gazdag quiet, then three more points at home are there to be won for the 5-Stripes.

Get Thiago Almada involved early and often

The Argentine midfielder has had a relatively quiet start to the season. After leading his country’s U-23 side to Olympic qualification during the MLS offseason, Almada has collected just one goal through his first five matches of the season. Last year, the midfielder set a franchise record with 19 assists. He has continued to create scoring opportunities, registering multiple key passes in each of his last four league matches. With some attacking pieces expected to miss Sunday’s clash with Philadelphia, more of the attacking creativity will fall on Almada’s shoulders. When he’s playing at his best, he’s one of the top playmakers in the league. Atlanta will need him to be at that level to extend the home winning streak and give Philadelphia its first loss of the season.

Fans can tune in on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV and FOX/FOX Deportes on Sunday afternoon at 2:30pm ET when the action kicks off at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. To hear the action on radio, tune into STAR 94 FM or Sirius XM FC 157 (English) or La Mejor – AM 1600 (Spanish).

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