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Match Preview: Atlanta United vs L.A. Galaxy

Home has proven to be a fortress for Atlanta United (12-8-7), who are currently riding on a nine-match unbeaten streak in the ATL. They’ll be hoping to keep that run alive as they host the L.A. Galaxy (7-15-6) on Wednesday night, while L.A. try to bounce back after a 4-0 loss to the Supporters’ Shield leaders, Toronto FC. You can purchase tickets to the match here.

The match is set to kick off at 7:00 p.m. EST and will be broadcast on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and streamed live via WATCH ESPN.

Atlanta United (12-8-7)

“Hot at home” would be an understatement for the Five Stripes. After losing two of their first three MLS home games, Atlanta is now unbeaten in their last nine – outscoring the opposition 29-9 over that time – and have only dropped one match in their last eleven regular season matches. Shooting up the Eastern Conference table, Atlanta now sit in fifth place with a chance to jump into fourth with a victory on Wednesday night. They’ve now scored 13 times and recorded two clean sheets in their three matches inside the state-of-the-art Mercedes-Benz Stadium thus far.

In year one, head coach Tata Martino has established an attractive, attacking, fast-paced identity for the league newcomers who have now tallied a total of 57 goals through 27 matches. Only Toronto has scored more with 63.

Spearheading the impressive number is their young, South American contingent up front. Venezuelan international Josef Martinez has missed a chunk of matches with injury this season but still leads his team with 16 goals – scoring seven of those in the last week alone – and now has three hat-tricks this season. The 24-year-old is averaging a goal every 65 minutes, the best rate in league history (min. three goals) and currently lies just three goals behind the Golden Boot leader in NYCFC’s David Villa.

Next to Martinez, constantly causing trouble on the wing is forward Tito Villalba, who has recorded 11 goals of his own as well as eight assists. And pulling the strings behind them and exploiting the gaps in the opposition are Miguel Almirón, Yamil Asad as well as SuperDraft selection Julian Gressel, who have tallied a combined 29 assists.

The club’s attack has electrified the league, but it’s the team’s effort on the other side of the ball that has proven extremely impressive, especially for a newly assembled back line in its first year. With only 35 goals conceded this season, Atlanta United’s defense ranks third in the league, and their +22 goal differential ranks second. Led by U.S. international goalkeeper Brad Guzan and team captain Michael Parkhurst, Atlanta will look to keep up the solid defensive form as they face L.A. for the first time in the history of the two clubs.

L.A. Galaxy (7-15-6)

With a plethora of changes in the roster as well as coaching personnel, it’s been a transition year for the Galaxy. Sitting at 10th in the Western Conference and enduring one of the toughest seasons in club history, L.A. is hoping to salvage what they can from the remainder of the season with a faint hope of sneaking into the playoffs with a final stretch of great form.

After 14 goals and 12 assists last year, L.A.’s number 10 in Giovanni dos Santos hasn’t been able to replicate that success this season. Suffering through injury as well as the personnel adjustments around him, dos Santos has struggled to find his form. Still, the Mexican superstar remains extremely talented both on and off the ball and could provide a much-needed spark to an L.A. side in a bad situation.

New 2017 additions in the Galaxy attack include Gio’s younger brother and fellow Mexican international Jonathan dos Santos as well as French winger Romain Alessandrini. Jonathan arrived in August and has been a cog in the midfield for L.A., despite only joining the club just weeks ago. However, signing for the club in preseason of this year and most prominent in their attack has been the crafty Alessandrini. The winger has recorded nine goals and ten assists and proven that he can be both the prolific scorer as well as the playmaker.

But the Galaxy will need a full team effort if they want to turn their season around on Wednesday as they face a red-hot Atlanta side in a brand-new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in an unknown environment.

Listen & Watch – Wednesday, September 20th | 7:00 p.m. EST

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