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Match Preview: Atlanta United vs Columbus Crew

On Saturday night, Atlanta United continue their inaugural MLS season as they host the Columbus Crew at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Atlanta (5-6-3) are coming off a midweek 3-2 victory over the Charleston Battery in their U.S. Open Cup debut, meanwhile Columbus (7-8-1) are entering the weekend after suffering a 1-0 Open Cup loss to USL side FC Cincinnati. Four points separate the two sides in the Eastern Conference standings with Crew sitting in 5th place and ATL UTD in 8th.

The match will mark the sixth-straight sellout for Atlanta United, currently leading the league in attendance for the 2017 season. If you didn’t get a ticket, don’t worry, you can catch all the action starting at 7:00 p.m. EST on FOX Sports Southeast or via FOX Sports GO.

Atlanta United (5-6-3)

No MLS side has scored more this year than the 2017 expansion club in the Eastern Conference. Atlanta United has bagged a total of 28 goals through 14 matches and has proven to be one of the most dangerous sides in the league whether they’re home or on the road. This weekend Atlanta will hope to continue their goal-scoring form against the Crew and make it three consecutive victories at home.

Despite the defeat in Chicago last week, there was a shining moment that Atlanta United fans can be confident about as forward Josef Martinez made his return to the pitch after being sidelined since March with a quad injury. The Venezuela international earned second half minutes last weekend and played a full 90 against the Battery in their midweek U.S. Open Cup debut, and notching a goal in their 3-2 victory.

In the matchup this weekend, there’s no question Columbus will be scratching their heads trying to figure out how to contain Atlanta’s Miguel Almirón. The Paraguayan playmaker returned from international duty last week and looks as poised as ever. Also, scoring five goals in their last two home matches and earning back-to-back MLS player of the weeks, it’s safe to say number 10 is in good form at a rocking Bobby Dodd Stadium.

Columbus Crew (7-8-1)

Including their U.S. Open Cup trip to Cincinnati midweek, Saturday in Atlanta will mark the Crew’s third-straight match on the road. They’ve dropped their last two and will be hoping to break that fruitless streak this weekend.

Leading the lines for Columbus has been midfielder Justin Meram. The Iraqi international has recorded eight goals and six assists on the year, helping their side to a solid 5th place position in the Eastern Conference. A 2011 SuperDraft selection, Meram is ingrained in the Columbus side that has established their identity as owning one of the most attractive styles of play in the league.

Also helping to pull the strings is another long-term Crew member in Federico Higuain. The clever Argentine DP has six goals and five assists to his name so far this year, and always looks threatening when he’s on the ball.

Key pieces for the Crew to keep an eye on include Columbus Homegrown and team captain Wil Trapp, a true cog in the midfield for the black and yellow, as well as front man and Norway international Ola Kamara who, along with Meram, has bagged a team-leading eight goals this season.

Listen & Watch – Saturday, June 17 | 7:00 p.m. EST

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