Tools to the Match

Tools to the Match: How Atlanta United earns three road points at Chicago on Saturday 


Coming off two home matches, Atlanta United is back on the road this weekend for a clash with Chicago Fire FC. This will be the first team that the 5-Stripes have faced twice this season. On March 31, Atlanta collected a 3-0 victory behind a Jamal Thiaré brace at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. They will look to duplicate that effort and scoreline at Soldier Field on Saturday night. Atlanta sits in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, while Chicago enters the match in 13th place looking to find some momentum. The Fire have managed two wins this season, both of which came at Soldier Field. Historically, Chicago has been a tough road test for the 5-Stripes as Atlanta has only managed one road victory in seven attempts. Let’s take a look at the Tools to the Match presented by the Home Depot against Chicago Fire FC.

Regain consistency on the pitch and elevate the intensity on the road

Since the March 31 victory against Chicago at home, Atlanta has managed two draws and one loss. The team’s depth has been tested in certain areas of the pitch in those matches. One of the keys for success on the road this weekend will be to try and regain some consistency in the lineup. It was a welcome sight to see Giorgos Giakoumakis come on as a sub last weekend alongside Xande Silva. With those players back in the mix, Atlanta has to try and regain the form it had earlier in the season and find a way to bring home points on the road Saturday night.

The team continues to be among the league leaders in total distance covered per match (73.4 miles per match; 4th ), total sprints per match (256 sprints per match; 4th) and high-speed runs (489 high-speed runs per match; 8th). That willingness to cover ground and the effort to make those sprints has to be elevated on the road this weekend. If Atlanta can successfully press and make life difficult for Chicago, it will have a great chance to earn three valuable road points

Be mindful of Chicago’s designated players down the spine of team

Chicago has struggled to find consistency on both ends of the pitch this season. It has managed 11 goals (19th in MLS) but has conceded 18 (27th in MLS) coming into this weekend. Last weekend, it lost 4-0 at home against Real Salt Lake. The Fire will certainly be motivated to have a better performance this weekend in front of its fans.

One of the keys defensively for Atlanta will be to shut down Chicago’s spine of the team. Chicago features top quality down the middle of the team in USMNT midfielder Kellyn Acosta and designated players Xherdan Shaqiri (attacking mid) and Hugo Cuypers (striker). It’s no surprise that 63% of Chicago’s goals have come through the middle of the park this season. If Atlanta can shut down the spine of Chicago’s team and force them into wide areas, the 5-Stripes should be in good position to take home three points.

Score early to take the lead and then hold it

Through the first eight matches of the season, Atlanta United has managed just three goals in the first half of play. Ten of the teams’ 13 goals have come after the break. But scoring first has been one of the keys this season as the team sits at 3-1-1 (W-L-T) when scoring first in 2024. After scoring first in the last two matches and only picking up one point, the team has been focused this week and eliminating those errors and holding on to leads. If it can get on the scoresheet early against Chicago and put pressure on the home side, it will have a great shot to earn the win. And if Atlanta collect the win on Saturday it would also be a milestone moment in club history as the team is sitting on 99 MLS Regular Season wins coming into this weekend.

Fans can tune in on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV on Saturday night at 8:30 pm ET when the action kicks off at Soldier Field in Chicago. To hear the action on radio, tune into Sports Radio 92.9 The Game (English) or La Mejor – AM 1600 (Spanish).

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