Tools to the Match: How Atlanta keeps the momentum rolling on Saturday night

Atlanta United has won three matches in a row and looks to keep that momentum going on Saturday when they travel to Audi Field to take on D.C. United. The current winning streak has brought the 5-Stripes into the thick of the playoff race as they enter the weekend only three points below the playoff line in the Eastern Conference. D.C. United is coming off two consecutive defeats in which they have conceded eight goals combined. Let’s take a look at the Tools to the Match presented by The Home Depot.

Get the “BAMM” firing on all cylinders

Atlanta United fans got a glimpse of the fire power the team possesses now in the last match versus Toronto. Ezequiel Barco, Luiz Araújo, Josef Martinez and Marcelino Moreno all started the match. The team created a season-high 19 chances, with Barco scoring the lone winner. His performance earned him a third consecutive MLS Team of the Week honor. Newly signed Designated Player Araújo had a strong showing in his 5-Stripes debut. Martinez (5) and Moreno (7) each recorded season-highs in shots against Toronto. Atlanta will look for those relationships and combinations to get stronger with each training session and match going forward. If those four players – Barco, Araújo, Martinez & Moreno – fire on all cylinders the 5-Stripes will have a great chance to keep the winning streak going on Saturday.

Keep a close eye on Kamara

MLS veteran Ola Kamara has found his scoring touch once again for D.C. United this season. The Norwegian striker has scored 11 goals in just 14 matches played this year. He’s also added three assists. In his sixth year in the league, the striker has tallied 66 career goals. After scoring just seven goals in 2019 and 2020 combined for D.C. United, Kamara now has 11 and will be looking for more this weekend. It’s going to be important for Atlanta United’s defense to limit the spaces in the box for Kamara.

The 5-Stripes are coming off two consecutive clean sheets for the first time since Oct. 2020. The last time Atlanta United had three consecutive clean sheets in MLS Regular Season action was in 2019 (Apr. 27 - May 15) when the team picked up five-straight clean sheet victories which is the club record.

Continue to use the dribble to help create opportunities

With the plethora of creative players now at Atlanta United’s disposal, the dribble success continues to stand out and will be a factor for the 5-Stripes going forward. Atlanta United leads MLS with a 59.6% dribble success rate this season. Barco is completing dribbles at a 73.3% clip, which ranks him third in the league for players with a minimum of 30 dribbles. Moreno ranks second in total dribbles completed with 57. Araújo also showed flashes in his debut dribbling past opponents.

Kickoff is set for 8:00 p.m. ET at Audi Field on Saturday night. Fans can tune into Bally Sports South or listen on the radio on Star 94.1 to catch the action.