Atlanta United (6-7-3) are back home at Bobby Dodd Stadium this weekend for their fourth match in ten days, hosting the Colorado Rapids (5-9-1) in the first ever meeting between the teams. The Rapids currently sit at the bottom of the Western Conference standings but are on a good run of form with four wins in their last five matches. Here's what fans of the Five Stripes can expect out of their opponents this weekend:
Veteran Between the Sticks
After facing one the premier goalkeepers in the league in Washington, DC earlier this week, the standard of the opposing net-minder will remain high this weekend. Colorado will line up with Tim Howard in goal, one of the best goalkeepers in the history of U.S. Soccer with years of experience in Europe. Howard is saving more than 60% of the shots he’s faced this year, and is allowing just over a goal and a half per game. Howard’s veteran experience was a huge factor in Colorado’s surprise run up the Western Conference standings last season, and remains a leader of a stingy Rapids defense.
Shaky Road Form
Some good news for Atlanta United fans is Colorado’s form on the road, where they haven’t earned a single point so far this season. In fact, the Rapids have lost seven straight road games dating back to last season, tied for the third-longest road losing streak in franchise history. While Atlanta has played the fewest home games in the league so far this season, they’ve made good use of their home-field advantage. Atlanta have won four out of six home matches in the league this year – including their last three in a row – and have scored three or more goals in every home win so far this year. Atlanta will be hoping their high-scoring ways continue this weekend to continue their climb up the Eastern Conference standings.
Earlier this season, once Colorado was down, they were often out. After all, they had only taken one point after falling into a losing position in their first 12 MLS matches this year. But that has changed in recent weeks. Prior to Wednesday night’s loss against the LA Galaxy, they had back-to-back comeback wins coming later than the 80th minute. Both came off the head of impact substitute Alan Gordon, a strong target man striker who made the move from the Galaxy this offseason. Atlanta will have to keep concentration and finish the game off strong – or hope the game is already out of sight – to avoid any late slipups.
Saturday’s game will kick off at 7:00 p.m. EST at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Tickets are sold out, but you can find resale tickets here. Or you can tune in from home on FOX Sports Southeast, FOX Sports GO, or MLS LIVE.