On Tuesday, Atlanta United will be back at Bobby Dodd Stadium for their first-ever matchup against the San Jose Earthquakes. Atlanta (8-7-3) will be looking for their fifth-straight win at home, but San Jose (7-6-5) is on a streak of their own, going unbeaten in their last five matches across all competitions. You can catch all the action at 7:00 p.m. EST on FOX Sports South or via FOX Sports GO.
Ahead of the Fourth of July matchup in Atlanta, we broke down the Tools to the Match presented by Home Depot:
1) Beware of Wondo
Casual fans may know Chris Wondolowski best for that miss against Belgium in the 2014 World Cup. But don’t be fooled, the man known as “Wondo” is one of the most prolific strikers in MLS history. And the 34-year-old is performing at a high level again this season, starting every game for the Quakes so far this year and leading his team in both goals (7) and assists (5). Wondolowski brings a veteran savvy and awareness of being in the right place at the right time in the box, scoring a crucial goal just this weekend in their in-state rivalry match against the LA Galaxy. Keeping track of Wondolowski’s whereabouts and movements around the goal will be a major key for the Atlanta United defense as they look to keep their third-straight league clean sheet.
2) Exploit the Midfield Void
The Gold Cup coming in the middle of the season affects all MLS teams, and San Jose is no exception. Two of the Earthquakes’ primary options in central midfield – Panamanian Anibal Godoy and El Salvadorian Darwin Ceren – will both miss Tuesday’s match due to international call-ups. That could mean a second-straight call-up for the rookie out of UCLA, Jackson Yueill, who just made his debut for the club this weekend in their Cali Clásico rivalry match. Controlling the midfield can go a long way toward securing the final result, and Atlanta could look to exploit a void left by two veteran internationals in the center of the park.
3) Capitalize on Travel Fatigue
Atlanta United is in a tough stretch of games themselves, but San Jose may be dealing with some jetlag coming into Tuesday’s match. The Earthquakes are on their third game of the week, and had to fight hard for a late comeback win against their rival late Saturday night in front of their biggest crowd ever. Add on to that a cross-country flight to Atlanta and the aforementioned names missing from the rotation, San Jose could be dealing with the some physical – and mental – fatigue. Atlanta’s renowned high-press could help force some Quakes mistakes in the middle of that Southern summer heat.
Follow the Match
Kickoff is set for 7:00 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.