Atlanta United (3-1-0) are looking to string together four wins in a row as they continue through their second MLS season, and their next opponent will be the only one they’ve yet to face. Expansion side LAFC are off to a hot start at 2-1-0 and they are coming to Mercedes-Benz Stadium after a tough 4-3 loss last week against their L.A. counterparts. So the black & gold will be entering Saturday’s match with extra hunger. This is what Five Stripe fans can expect from their next opponent:
When LAFC acquired their initial two DP’s, their first signing made waves all around the continent with Mexican international Carlos Vela joining the club, however the second of the two flew under the radar with incoming 20-year-old Uruguayan Diego Rossi. But Bob Bradley knew the talented, attacking pair he was bringing in, and it’s panned out thus far. Vela’s ball skill, field awareness and ability to single-handedly take over matches from the center of the pitch have dominated the headlines and led him to three goals and two assists. Meanwhile Rossi has also tallied three goals himself and leads the team with four assists due to his pace, craftiness and knack for the spectacular. They’ve only played together for three matches, but the two will certainly be one of the league’s dynamic attacking duos to keep an eye on.
With the number of attacking names on the roster and the attractive, intentional, forward style of play that LAFC has established, they need a few players to hold down the fort and keep the squad organized as a unit. One of those is defensive midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye. The Canadian international boasts a strong presence in the midfield, sitting right in front of the back line and cleaning up anything that may enter his vicinity. In addition to his defensive duties, he’s also poised and composed enough to aid possession. And with midfield partners Benny Feilhaber and Carlos Vela consistently drifting forward through the 90, Kaye is LAFC’s rock in the center.
The Point Man
While Rossi and Vela have garnered a lot of attention because of their attacking prowess and electric play, a key piece in their impressive puzzle that has managed to record nine goals in three games together is striker Marco Ureña (pictured above). The Costa Rican international joined LAFC with a year of MLS experience under his belt just north with the San Jose Earthquakes where he notched five goals and three assists last season. Ureña is smart, strong, technical and knows how to connect the play from the center striker role. The 28-year-old has two assists thus far this year and no goals just yet, but even if he’s not hitting the back of the net, he’s heavily involved in any play that does.
This weekend’s match kicks off at 5:00 p.m. EST on Saturday, April 7th, and will be broadcast on ESPN. Click here for everything you need to know about how to follow along from home.