Atlanta United continues its three-match homestand with a match against FC Cincinnati on Wednesday night at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The 5-Stripes are coming off an impressive 3-0 home victory against rivals Orlando City. It was the club’s first multi-goal victory since April as the attack dominated against Orlando. That attack will look to keep it going on Wednesday when Cincinnati travels to Atlanta. Cincinnati celebrated a 2-0 victory against Toronto on the weekend, the first for the club since June 26. The 5-Stripes have never lost to Cincinnati at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in their history. To keep that streak going, let’s take a look at the Tools to the Match presented by The Home Depot.
Atlanta’s Attack continuing to gel
Head Coach Gonzalo Pineda, who earned MLS Coach of the Week honors on Monday, has done a good job of getting Atlanta United’s dynamic attack to work together. Luiz Araújo has provided a spark with his speed and Brazilian flair. Since his arrival on Aug. 18th, Atlanta United has completed the most dribbles in all of MLS (67). Araújo, Ezequiel Barco and Marcelino Moreno are all among the most successful dribblers in MLS, giving Pineda multiple options on how to attack an opponent’s defense.
Now you add Josef Martinez, one of the most dangerous strikers ever in MLS, to this mix and you can see how dangerous Atlanta can be the rest of the way in the Regular Season and the Playoffs. Getting those four players to gel and be on the same page will be a big key for Wednesday’s match and the rest of the season for Atlanta.
Don’t let Acosta create in final third
While Cincinnati sits near the bottom of the Eastern Conference table, they still feature several quality players that can hurt Atlanta’s defense if given the freedom and opportunity. One of those main threats is midfielders Luciano Acosta. The former D.C. United player has had a knack to perform against Atlanta United. One of the keys for Atlanta to earn another clean sheet will be to make sure Acosta doesn’t have time to create. Another player to watch out is Brazilian striker Brenner. The former Sao Paulo striker was brought in this season as one of the most exciting offseason acquisitions. He has scored six goals and added two assists, including a game-winning tally on the weekend. Atlanta’s defense needs to make sure Brenner doesn’t get any room in and around the box on Wednesday.
Stout Defense is the foundation to success
Atlanta United picked up its sixth clean sheet of the season in the 3-0 win against Orlando last week. Atlanta’s defense has been stout and ranks among the best in several defensive categories, laying a solid foundation for the team’s success. As a team, Atlanta is winning 53.7% of its duels, which ranks them first in MLS. Atlanta’s goalkeepers have combined for a save percentage of 74.1%, which is seventh in the league. Individually, Brooks Lennon boasts the highest tackle success rate among all MLS players with 30+ tackles this season at 83.9% coming into Wednesday match. Another stellar defensive performance will be key as the 5-Stripes look to build momentum this week to carry them the rest of the season.
Kickoff for Wednesday night’s clash is set for 7:00 p.m. ET at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Fans can tune in locally on Bally Sports Southeast to watch on TV or listen to the radio broadcast at Sports Radio 92.9 The Game.