On Sunday evening, Atlanta United host New York City FC at Bobby Dodd Stadium for the second-ever meeting between the two clubs. The result from round one fell in NYCFC’s favor, but Atlanta (4-4-3) are looking to avenge the 3-1 defeat and are searching for two straight wins in the ATL. NYCFC (6-4-2) are also hoping to get another three points following their 3-0 thrashing of Orlando City SC last week. You can catch the matchup on Sunday at 5:00 p.m. ET on ESPN or WATCHESPN.
Ahead of this weekend’s Eastern Conference clash, we broke down the Tools to the Match presented by Home Depot.
1) Feed the Hot Feet
After last week’s home victory, the Atlanta fan base and the entire team are fuming with confidence but there’s a few in particular that have been turning heads with their contributions. Miguel Almirón is coming off a stunning hat trick and MLS Player of the Week performance. On two of the three goals, the number ten was set up by 22-year-old Argentine Yamil Asad, who now has five assists on the season. In addition, SuperDraft selection Julian Gressel has been one of the most impressive rookies to watch in the midfield across all MLS and the German now has two goals in two matches. If Atlanta can continue to find the feet of their players bursting with confidence, we could see their league-leading 24 goals jump to a new high.
2) Lock Down Maxi
Arguably one of the best signings this MLS off-season, New York City’s DP Maximiliano Moralez has showed that he is one of the best playmakers in the league. Though short in stature at 5’ 3”, the Argentine has demonstrated his clever footwork, unmatched vision and quick distribution and proven that height doesn’t matter when it comes to success in the sport. So far NYCFC’s number 10 has already bagged two goals and recorded five assists this season from the center of the park, so Atlanta will need to keep him off the ball as much as possible if they are to grab a second-straight victory.
3) Track Back
In their last meeting, Atlanta had a tough time containing the pacey front line of David Villa, Jack Harrison and Rodney Wallace, particularly on the counter. Villa, last year’s MLS MVP, has tallied 8 goals through 12 matches and looks like he may make a run for the league award once again in 2017. Meanwhile, the wide duo of Harrison and Wallace have garnered a combined eight goals and six assists thus far. At Yankee stadium, the field was a bit narrower which caused Atlanta’s backs to push up higher rather than wider leaving them more exposed, but regardless, Atlanta United’s back line will need to recover and get behind the ball quickly if they want to avoid another three-goal concession.