This weekend, Atlanta United play host to Eastern Conference opponents New York City FC after meeting up north just three weeks ago. Atlanta (4-4-3) is searching for their second straight victory at home following a 4-1 rout of Houston Dynamo last week, meanwhile NYCFC (6-4-2) is coming off a statement 3-0 road win at the fortress of Orlando City SC. All the action at sold out Bobby Dodd Stadium on Sunday will be nationally broadcasted on ESPN starting at 5:00 p.m. ET.
Atlanta United (4-4-3)
The expansion side is off to a solid start to their inaugural season particularly in the scoring department, leading the league with 24 goals through just 11 matches. Though sitting in 9th in the Eastern Conference, Atlanta sit only five points behind NYCFC (3rd) with a game in hand and will be looking to avenge their 3-1 defeat a few weeks ago in the Big Apple.
After last week’s win, the team is carrying a ton of momentum and ATLiens are excited as ever after the club’s number 10 Miguel Almirón bagged a hat trick against Houston and received countless league honors this week including, Team of the Week, Player of the Week and Goal of the Week. The Paraguayan has tallied five goals and four assists on the season and hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down.
Another in-form midfield asset for Atlanta at the moment is MLS SuperDraft selection Julian Gressel. The rookie has two goals in two matches and has looked comfortable on the right wing in Tata Martino’s system. The club’s other leading goal scorer in Josef Martinez has been sidelined since week three but has returned to training and is listed as questionable for this weekend’s match.
New York City is also hailed as one of the top attacking forces in MLS, but Atlanta native Alec Kann has been quite the shield for the expansion side in front of net, tied for 4th in the league with 41 saves and would have earned his third clean sheet of the year last week if it weren’t for a 90th minute penalty decision.
New York City FC (6-4-2)
Sitting in 3rd in the Eastern Conference with 20 points, New York City has continued their winning ways from last season and at the beginning of this month, topped Atlanta on home turf at Yankee Stadium.
NYCFC is led by last year’s league MVP, David Villa, who tallied twenty-three goals and four assists last season and already has eight goals and four assists to his name in their 2017 campaign. The Spanish DP forward has proven time and time again that on or off the ball, he is one of the most dangerous players in MLS. Also key to New York City’s lethal attack this season are forwards Rodney Wallace and Jack Harrison who have each notched four goals and three assists so far.
One of the most impressive signings of the off-season, New York City’s number 10 Maximiliano Moralez has found his spot in the center of the park of Patrick Vieira’s possession-oriented system. With an uncanny poise on the ball, the 5’ 3” midfielder has acted as the team’s maestro, getting the ball off the backs, finding the space and splitting opposing back lines, bagging five assists and two goals in the process. Atlanta will surely be keeping tabs on the Argentine this Sunday.
Listen & Watch – Sunday, May 28 | 5:00 p.m. ET