After the Five Stripes secured a convincing 3-1 friendly victory in their first preseason match against USL side Nashville SC, they suffered a small setback last weekend with a 3-1 loss to the Columbus Crew in the first matchup of the Carolina Challenge Cup. After several more days of hard work at preseason training, they’ll look to improve on that performance as they face fellow 2017 MLS debutants Minnesota United FC for the third time in team history on Wednesday.
The match kicks off at 7:30 p.m. ET at MUSC Health Stadium and will be broadcast on beIN SPORTS. It will also be streamed online, so make sure to tune in and watch at ATLUTD.com/LIVE.
Atlanta United is looking to take the next step after an explosive first season, bringing in strong reinforcements to enter 2018 stronger than before. But the core remains: Miguel Almirón and Josef Martinez –– both members of the 2017 MLS Best XI –– stand as the spearheads of the Atlanta United attack. Meanwhile the two offensive offseason additions, midfielder Darlington Nagbe and winger Ezequiel Barco, continue their integration into the team and, after more crucial minutes under their belt on Saturday, will look to cement their undoubted skills even further into the first XI.
On the other side of the ball, Jeff Larentowicz has been the partner for Leandro González Pirez in the first two matches of preseason as Michael Parkhurst works his way back to regular season fitness. And the squad could see the return of Tito Villalba and the debut of Franco Escobar, with the two Argentines featuring in first-team training this week.
Preseason is a time for testing and experimenting with various formations, lineups and combinations, so make sure to keep an eye out for the mid-game substitutions. MLS SuperDraft pick Oliver Shannon has appeared in both preseason games so far and has impressed with tidy, energetic displays on both occasions, while Homegrown Andrew Carleton is always ready to add a spark to the wing in the Atlanta United attack. Both players have earned their time, and Head Coach Tata Martino has rewarded them with first-team minutes.
On the other side of the ball are the Loons from the North, Minnesota United, who are also trying to get back to winning ways after a 1-0 loss to the Charleston Battery in the first match of the preseason tournament. Adrian Heath’s side have their eyes on a playoff berth after falling short last year, and will look to build on their 3-2 win at Mercedes-Benz Stadium late last season.
Look out for Ibson as the metronome passer in the center of midfield, while MLS veteran Ethan Finley joins Kevin Molino as the focal point of the attacking side of the midfield. Abu Danladi, Julian Gressel’s primary rival for last year’s MLS Rookie of the Year award, adds attacking prowess to their front line while MLS SuperDraft pick Mason Toye will also to be eager to impress his coach to earn a starting spot on the wing.
Atlanta United fans could see two familiar faces lining up for the opposing squad, with former Five Stripes members midfielder Harrison Heath and fullback Tyrone Mears both joining Minnesota United in the offseason.
Both sides are looking for their first win against MLS competition of the 2018 preseason, and will be working hard to get up to full speed for the regular season. It’ll be a match you don’t want to miss, so make sure you tune in to beIN Sports or atlutd.com/live at 7:30 p.m. ET for kickoff.