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Match Preview: Atlanta United at Columbus Crew

This weekend Atlanta United head to MAPFRE Stadium in Ohio to face the Columbus Crew for their second meeting of the year. Atlanta (7-7-3) emerged on the winning side of the result last time out as they topped the crew 3-1 on home turf, but Columbus (8-9-1) boast a strong home record themselves and will be searching for revenge against the league newcomers. There’s much on the line for this one as Atlanta sit just one point behind the Crew in the Eastern Conference standings.

Saturday night’s Eastern Conference clash will be one you won’t want to miss. You can catch all the action starting at 7:30 p.m. EST on FOX Sports Southeast or via FOX Sports GO.

Atlanta United (7-7-3)

At 1.94 goals per game, no team has scored more consistently than Atlanta United so far this season. Although competing in just their first year in the league, the expansion side has already established a clear style of high pressure, attacking play and through 17 matches, only Seattle and Chicago have been able to keep Atlanta out of the net.

At the helm of their dangerous front line are midfielders Miguel Almirón and Julian Gressel as well as forwards Josef Martinez and Tito Villalba, who have tallied 24 of the team’s 33 goals this year. A vital piece in Atlanta’s impressive scoring run has been 22-year-old Yamil Asad who, along with Toronto’s Victor Vazquez, sits at the top of the league assist chart with a total of nine so far this season.

The expansion club have endured a tough and extensive road schedule this year and have dropped their last three, but will hope to turn that recent form around on Saturday night. If they can hitch another win against Columbus, Atlanta will climb past the Crew in the table and continue to solidify their spot above the playoff line as they head into the second half of the season.

Columbus Crew (8-9-1)

Looking to avenge their defeat in Atlanta a few weeks ago, Columbus have been waiting in anticipation for the reverse fixture in their own walls of MAPFRE Stadium. The Crew hold a strong record at home (6-2-1) and will hope to extend the separation between them and the expansion side in the Conference standings.

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.

Another key catalyst for Columbus is long-term Crew member Federico Higuain. The clever Argentine DP has notched nine goals and five assists so far this year, and with exceptional vision and poise, he always poses a threat on the ball.

Other important pieces for the Crew to keep an eye on include Columbus Homegrown and team captain Wil Trapp, a vital cog in the midfield for the black and yellow, as well as front man and Norwegian international Ola Kamara who, along with Higuain, leads the team with nine goals. And while he may have missed the last matchup with Atlanta due to injury, lethally quick Kekutah Manneh is back in action, recording a goal and an assist in their most recent match against Montreal.

Listen & Watch – Saturday, July 1 | 7:30 p.m. EST

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