Atlanta United (10-7-5) make their return to MLS action on the road against D.C. United (6-15-4) on Wednesday. The Five Stripes have dropped both games against D.C. so far this year and will be looking for revenge, but there have been a lot of changes with the other Eastern Conference United since they last played. Here’s what Atlanta United fans can expect this time around:
The biggest story surrounding D.C. United right now has to be their roster overhaul. The club tried to add a spark to their season with one of the busiest offseasons in the league, adding four players over the past month. While young Bolivian striker Bruno Miranda may have to remain on the bench in favor of Patrick Mullins, Hungarian winger Zoltan Stieber could make his debut for the club on Wednesday night according to head coach Ben Olsen. Meanwhile former U.S. National Team U-20 captain Russell Canouse is expected to anchor the midfield and the headline transfer of the summer, U.S. international winger Paul Arriola, should factor in on the right wing. It’s a new cast of characters that could help either team. On one hand, there isn’t much game tape for Atlanta United to review all these new faces combining. On the other hand, it could take a while for the new squad to iron out the kinks and find their chemistry.
While there could be plenty of new faces on the field for D.C., there will be two players Atlanta already know plenty about that have given them trouble in the past. In the teams’ two previous meetings this year, goalkeeper Bill Hamid has been the kryptonite to Atlanta’s super attack, with ten saves to just two goals allowed. Meanwhile on the attacking end, Argentine midfielder Luciano Acosta has proven a menace to the red, black and gold with two goals and one assist, creating a goal every 48 minutes against Atlanta. However, head coach Tata Martino could have Josef Martinez back at his disposal this week to face D.C. for the first time this season – a player that has, on average, nearly doubled Atlanta United’s goal output while on the field this season. The team will be hoping his return – and a desire for revenge – will be enough to push them over a team that’s turned into a tough challenge this year.
Despite D.C. United’s two wins against Atlanta United this year, they remain at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings with just six wins total on the season. Their home form has been especially rocky lately, with only one win in their last eight home games – and four total goals during that run. Atlanta United, on the other hand, have turned around their early season road woes with two straight road league wins against Eastern Conference opponents. Atlanta will be hoping to continue both of those trends to get a little revenge in the nation’s capital.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. EST on Wednesday. Make sure to tune in on FOX Sports south or FOX Sports GO.