How Atlanta United can take down the Western Conference leaders

Atlanta head to Kansas City this weekend to face off against Sporting KC in the first-ever meeting between the two clubs. Atlanta (10-7-4) are hoping to continue their five-match unbeaten run, while Kansas City (9-4-9) are looking to maintain an undefeated record inside the walls of Children’s Mercy Park. Catch all the action on Sunday night starting at 8:00 p.m. EST on FS1 or via FOX Sports Go.

Ahead of this weekend’s cross Conference clash, we broke down the Tools to the Match presented by Home Depot.

1) Crack the Cauldron

Through 11 matches at Children’s Mercy Park this year, Sporting KC have only allowed seven goals, 0.64 per 90 minutes and only conceded multiple times on one occasion. But it’s not only at home that the leaders of the Western Conference defend their net proudly. KC have allowed the least amount of goals of any team in the league all season (17). With the highest scoring front line in the league (41 goals) visiting this weekend, Sunday night will be a contest of strength versus strength.

2) Timely Tito

The last few weeks has seen Atlanta continue their unbeaten streak with massive results against conference opponents Orlando City, and in both matchups, 23-year-old forward Tito Villalba proved to be the difference maker. First the Argentine scored an absolute screamer from 30 yards out in the 86th minute to steal a 1-0 win in Orlando, and then a week later at Bobby Dodd Stadium, slotted home a stoppage time equalizer against the Lions to earn a valuable point. When his side needs a goal, Villalba has stepped up for Atlanta and in a match where the opponent boasts a formidable back line, all three points in KC could be decided by one moment.

3) Beware of Benny

One of the top playmakers in the league, midfielder Benny Feilhaber has pulled the strings for Kansas City for the last five seasons, tallying 28 goals and 41 assists. Born in Brazil, Feilhaber grew up in the Unites States and has made 43 appearances for the U.S. Men’s National Team, including a role in the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the 2008 Summer Olympics. Poise on the ball and ice in his veins, Feilhaber can always be counted on to create something out of nothing, and he will certainly be a test for the midfield pair of Jeff Larentowicz and Carlos Carmona to shut down.

Follow the Match

Kickoff is set for 8:00 p.m. EST and will be broadcast on FS1. 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.