On Wednesday night, Atlanta United head to the nation’s capital to face off against Eastern Conference opponents D.C. United for their third matchup of the season which kicks off at 7:30 p.m. EST. Atlanta (10-7-5) are rolling on a six-match unbeaten streak, while D.C. (6-15-4) are looking to turn things around in the final stretch of the season.
Ahead of Wednesday’s clash between the United’s, we broke down the Tools to the Match presented by Home Depot.
1) Press High, Press Early
Atlanta United have made their high press a staple in their inaugural MLS season thus far. It’s not only the fast-paced, dynamic attack that has conjured a rate of 1.91 goals per game (2nd best in the league), but the ability of the team to force mistakes in the opponent’s defensive third consistently puts them in prime position to score. The expansion side have enjoyed a two-week break from action and will be well rested heading into Wednesday, while D.C. are just returning from a trip out west to Colorado last weekend, so Atlanta could look to take advantage of the home side’s fatigue.
2) Secure the Clean Sheet
Atlanta United have only allowed four goals in their last six matches including three clean sheets. Meanwhile D.C. United have allowed eighteen in the same span of matches and have conceded 44 times total this season, third most in the league. At RFK, D.C. have won once in their last eight MLS games, only recording a combined four goals through those matches and a total of 20 on the season (lowest in the league). If Guzan and company can keep Atlanta’s back line secure, it will go a long way in earning point(s) in the nation’s capital.
3) Aware of Acosta and Arriola
D.C. have certainly struggled to find the back of the net this season, but it does not mean they lack threats in the final third. With Argentine maestro Luciano Acosta and recently signed U.S. international Paul Arriola to bolster their attack, D.C.’s front line is young, quick and crafty. Acosta has proved a nuisance for Atlanta in both of the previous matchups, recording two goals and an assist, and playing a fundamental role in their victories over the expansion side. Atlanta haven’t faced Arriola yet, but the 22-year-old from Club Tijuana won’t be any easier to contain as his pace and fearlessness on the wing allows him to create constant dangerous situations for oppositions.
How to Follow
You can catch all the action between Atlanta United and D.C. United on Wednesday night starting at 7:30 p.m. EST on FOX Sports South or via FOX Sports GO.