After a brief break for Atlanta United, the expansion side return to regular season MLS play as they travel up north for a two-match road stretch, the first of which will be against the other Eastern Conference United. Headed into their third matchup of the season on Wednesday, Atlanta (10-7-5) are hoping to continue their six-match unbeaten streak, while D.C. (6-15-4) are looking to take all nine points against the league newcomers this year.
Catch all the action of the United clash on Wednesday night starting at 7:30 p.m. EST on FOX Sports South or via FOX Sports Go.
Atlanta United (10-7-5)
Almost two thirds of the way through the season, Atlanta sit in 7th place in the East but have played three or fewer games than almost all their opponents due to their upcoming opening of their new home at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in September. While they technically sit below the playoff line at the moment, with a few games in hand and the most home matches remaining out of the entire league, the expansion club have a lot going for them heading into the final stretch of the season that could propel them into the playoffs.
Despite an unprecedented start to an expansion season with 35 points through 22 games, Atlanta have been unable to earn any points against their northern neighbors, D.C. United. While ATL UTD have dropped the first two, the red, black & gold have yet to face D.C. with a completely healthy squad. Josef Martinez, Atlanta’s second leading goal scorer who’s currently averaging more than a goal every 90 minutes, missed the first matchup and appeared as a late sub in the second as he returned from injury. With the prolific Venezuelan back in training, D.C could find themselves facing one of the most lethal forwards in the league for a full 90 minutes.
Feared by defenses in MLS, Atlanta boast a 42-goal tally on the season, and are second in MLS in goals per game with 1.91. Vital to their renowned front line, Tito Villalba, Josef Martinez and Miguel Almirón have combined for 27 of their goals so far this season, with Almirón and Yamil Asad recording a total of 19 assists. Atlanta’s fast-paced attack will surely be at it again as they hope to take three back home in their second trip to RFK Stadium this season.
D.C. United (6-15-4)
D.C. have endured a tough 2017 season thus far. They sit at the bottom of the Eastern Conference with the fewest goals scored (20) and third-most allowed (44) in the league. With that in mind, D.C. were one of the most active during the recent MLS summer trade window.
On August 10th, D.C. United announced the signing of U.S. international Paul Arriola from Club Tijuana of Liga MX. The young, crafty winger brings both creativity and speed to the D.C. attack as well as experience on the international level. Featured regularly in Bruce Arena's USMNT side for the recent World Cup qualifying matches and 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup action, Arriola has 11 caps for the national team, and has scored two goals. Playing the full 90 in both matches since arriving in D.C., the 22-year-old will undoubtedly be a one of Ben Olsen’s point men.
But Arriola is only one of four acquisitions for D.C. over the trade window. Also added to the roster was American midfielder Russell Canouse, Hungarian international winger Zoltan Stieber and young Bolivian forward Bruno Miranda. With the arrival of new faces and returning to the nation’s capital for a three-match home stand, D.C. will try to snowball off of their win against the Colorado Rapids last weekend and spark a run of good form.
Listen & Watch – Sunday, August 23rd | 7:30 p.m. EST
- FOX Sports South
- FOX Sports GO