Atlanta United returns to Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday to take on New England Revolution. The 5-Stripes come in after earning a tough road point at Nashville last time out. New England leads the Eastern Conference standings, so Saturday will provide another test for the young Atlanta squad. Let’s take a look at the Tools to the Match presented by The Home Depot.
Carry the momentum into this match
Despite missing several key players to injury or international duty, Atlanta United was able to get a valuable 2-2 draw in its last outing at Nashville. It was the young guys who had standout performances for the team. Four homegrowns were on the field at the same time, the most homegrowns that have ever been on the field for Atlanta United in an MLS match. Jackson Conway came off the bench and scored his first MLS goal to equalize. George Campbell was an early sub and made the most of his minutes at center back. Machop Chol was a threat on the offensive end in his first career start, while Tyler Wolff started in midfield and linked up the play.
Head coach Gabriel Heinze will have to lean on those young guys once again on Saturday and will look for the team to carry over some of that momentum into the contest against New England. Three points against the team at the top of the table could provide a real boost for the 5-Stripes for the rest of the campaign.
Keeping Gil in check, take advantage of Turner absence
New England feature a very potent attack and it all starts with the team captain Carles Gil. The Spanish playmaker has been one of the best midfielders in the league over the past couple of seasons. He leads MLS with 10 assists and has created 61 chances for his team. For comparison, Atlanta’s Brooks Lennon is second in MLS with 34 created chances. Keeping Gil in check will be one of the biggest keys in Saturday’s match. If Atlanta do that, they will cut off the supply to New England’s dangerous strikers Gustavo Bou (7 goals) and Adam Buksa (5 goals).
Another area for Atlanta to attack is New England’s goalkeeper situation. Matt Turner, the team’s regular starter, is with the USMNT at the Gold Cup. New England gave up three goals last time out in his absence. Atlanta will look to add to that tally on Saturday.
Continue to be stellar on set pieces
In Nashville, Atlanta United scored two goals off set pieces, giving them three for the season in just 12 games. That’s the same amount of set piece goals they had in all of 2020 (23 games). The squad features several players that can be dangerous off set pieces in Anton Walkes, Jackson Conway, Santiago Sosa and others. One of the keys will be to continue to execute on those set pieces to help spark the attack from open play. Marcelino Moreno, Jake Mulraney and Brooks Lennon have all provided quality deliveries this season, the 5-Stripes need to find ways to turn those deliveries into goals.
Kickoff is set for 5:00 p.m. ET from Mercedes-Benz Stadium as Atlanta United hosts New England Revolution. The match will be nationally broadcast on ESPN or fans can tune into Sports Radio 92.9 The Game for the action.