170602 Match Preview vs VAN

Match Preview: Atlanta United at Vancouver Whitecaps

On Saturday, Atlanta United make their third trip north of the border this season as they head to Vancouver to face off against the Whitecaps. Atlanta (5-4-3) have won two in a row and are looking to make it four straight unbeaten. Meanwhile, Vancouver (5-6-1) is coming off a 1-0 loss to D.C. United last week and a 4-2 defeat to Montreal in the Canadian Championship semifinal on Tuesday. This Saturday will mark the first ever meeting between the two clubs with the match kicking off 5:30 p.m. ET. You can catch all the action on FOX Sports Southeast or via FOX Sports GO.

Atlanta United (5-4-3)

Atlanta United enjoyed their first home stand of the season in the last few weeks as they emerged with back to back victories, defeating Houston who sat 2nd in the West at the time and getting revenge on New York City FC who handed Atlanta their most recent loss. If they can capture three points this weekend in Vancouver, it would mark the expansion side’s first-ever three match win streak.

It was quite the month of May for the entire team, who now lead the league in goal scoring with 27 in their inaugural season campaign. Key to their latest attacking success have been their playmaking Paraguayan Miguel Almirón and standout SuperDraft selection Julian Gressel who have tallied a combined seven goals and two assists in just the past three weeks. The 23-year-old DP Almirón earned MLS Player of the Week accolades in back-to-back weeks, making him the first player to do so since Sebastian Giovinco in 2015.

Not only headed into this weekend with tons of momentum and some of the most in-form players in the league, but there’s also hope in the return of star forward Josef Martinez. The young Venezuelan DP notched five goals in his first three games and received the MLS Player of the Month award in March before a quad injury sidelined him for almost two months. Though Martinez didn’t make the roster last week against NYCFC, he’s been back in training and after Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra’s post-match words, it’s likely Atlanta United will see their talented forward return to the field sooner rather than later.

Vancouver Whitecaps (5-6-1)

The Cascadian club is coming off a home loss against D.C. United and a semifinal defeat against Montreal in the Canadian Championship, however Vancouver head coach Carl Robinson fielded a younger squad on Tuesday in their matchup against the Impact, so fatigue shouldn’t be as much of an issue for the Whitecaps as they head into this week’s MLS regular season contest against Atlanta.

Vancouver bolstered their attack in a busy offseason as they brought in two more Designated Players to join Matias Laba including former Sounders star Fredy Montero and U.S. International Brek Shea. The two new additions have shown spurts of brilliance and recorded a combined six goals so far, but Vancouver is still hoping that the two really hit their stride because both have proven themselves to be prolific and effective players in this league.

Another player Atlanta will need to keep tabs on is midfielder Christian Bolaños. The Costa Rican international has been a cog in the midfield for the Whitecaps since joining the club in January of 2016. Bolaños tallied five goals and eight assists last season and has already recorded four so far this year. Though not sprinkled with big names, Vancouver is a strong, cohesive unit coupled with a lot of heart and BC place is sure to be rocking on Saturday evening.

Listen & Watch – Saturday, June 3 | 5:30 p.m. ET

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