On Saturday, Atlanta United travel to MAPFRE Stadium for their second-ever matchup against the Columbus Crew. Atlanta (7-7-3) earned the 3-1 victory in the reverse fixture at Bobby Dodd Stadium just a few weeks ago, but Columbus (8-9-1) is hoping to return the favor within the comfort of their own walls. You can catch all the action at 7:30 p.m. EST on FOX Sports Southeast or via FOX Sports GO.
Ahead of this weekend’s Eastern Conference clash, we broke down the Tools to the Match presented by Home Depot.
1) Pressure, Pressure, Pressure
Tata Martino’s group in Atlanta have established themselves as a determined side with a clear idea of play, maintaining a fast tempo and pressing high. When Columbus traveled to the ATL a few weeks ago, the constant pressure on the back line forced a few detrimental turnovers from the Crew which ultimately led to a 3-1 score line in favor of Atlanta. Columbus’s game is always to build from the back and if Atlanta’s tenacious front line can apply the same vicious pressure, they’re sure to coerce the home side into some costly mistakes.
2) Keep the Clean Sheet
Columbus have scored in 19 consecutive regular season home matches, closing in on the franchise record (23). However, last week Atlanta kept the Colorado Rapids off the score sheet with a 1-0 victory at home, and Kann and the back line will be ready to build on that momentum and break their three-match losing streak on the road. If Atlanta can record a clean sheet, it will go a long way in securing point(s) and returning to their blissful road ways from earlier on in the season.
3) Mindful of Manneh
The speedy Gambian-born forward was acquired by Columbus in late March from the Vancouver Whitecaps where he recorded 22 goals and 12 assists over the course of four seasons with the Canadian club. Despite being unable to establish a position in the regular starting squad due to injuries and other reasons, Manneh tallied his first goal and his first assist for the Crew last week in their win over Montreal. Whether in Berhalter’s starting XI or off the bench, the 22-year-old Manneh is a quick, technical, tenacious attacking asset that Atlanta will need to keep an eye on.
Follow the Match
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on FOX Sports Southeast and MLS Live. You can listen to the game on the Atlanta United app or through one of our radio partners: 92.9 The Game or, for Spanish-speaking listeners, La Mejor Atlanta. Click here for a full rundown of how to follow along with the game.