180419_LAG_MatchPreview

Match Preview: Atlanta United at LA Galaxy

After battling table leaders NYCFC to a 2-2 draw last week, Atlanta United hope to extend their unbeaten run to six as they travel west to face the LA Galaxy. ATL UTD (4-1-1) will look to tame LA’s lion that is Zlatan Ibrahimovic, meanwhile the Galaxy (3-2-1) will be hoping to build off their 1-0 win in Chicago last week. In just the second-ever meeting between the two sides and the first on the West coast, this is one you won’t want to miss.

The match kicks off at 10:30 p.m. EST and will be broadcast on FOX Sports Southeast and FOX Sports GO. Click here for all the details on how to follow along with the match.

Atlanta United (4-1-1)

Atlanta’s attack has been nothing short of electric since entering the league last season and particularly against sides from Los Angeles. Last September ATL UTD topped the Galaxy 4-0 at home, and just two weeks ago put five past goals past LAFC. However, both of those matches were played in a red, black & gold-filled Mercedes-Benz Stadium, so Atlanta will hope to replicate that potent attack this Saturday in their first trip to Los Angeles.

Leading the goal-scoring escapade this year again is forward Josef Martinez. The Venezuelan’s five goals in 2018 have brought him to a total 24 goals in just 26 matches played. Also impressive this season has been reigning MLS Rookie of the Year Julian Gressel, who already has a goal and three assists to his name from the wingback position. And in the middle of the park, Miguel Almirón and Darlington Nagbe have dazzled the with their pristine technical ability and quickness. Almirón – named to the MLS Team of the Week after his performance last Sunday –  has scored three goals so far and leads his team in assists with four on the year.

While Five Stripe fans were happy to see the unbeaten run still alive, the icing on the cake was the sigh of midfielder Ezequiel Barco taking the field last week, coming back from injury and entering the match as a second-half sub to officially make his MLS debut. The 19-year-old will hope to add more minutes and more impact to a team that’s on quite the hot streak. With two straight clean sheets and 15 goals over the course of their current run, Atlanta is riding a +7 goal differential on the season (2nd best in the league only to NYCFC).

LA Galaxy (3-2-1)

LA Galaxy are one of the original MLS clubs founded in 1996 and lead the league all-time in MLS Cups with five total. But after arguably their worst season ever in 2017 where they missed the playoffs and finished at the bottom of the Western Conference, they knew they needed to make some changes heading into 2018.

And this offseason they did just that, with some key additions to the squad including midfielder Perry Kitchen, forward Chris Pontius as well as striker Ola Kamara – a Norwegian international who scored 34 goals in two seasons with the Columbus Crew before joining the Galaxy. But grabbing the most headlines around the world has been the signing of striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Swedish international is one of the most decorated players in the sport of the last decade, playing for the globe’s biggest clubs: Barcelona, Manchester Unitd, Juventus, AC Milan and PSG among others. He’s a natural-born goal-scorer with nearly 500 goals in his career for club & country, and the man they call “The Lion” already has three in just three games with the Galaxy.

On top of their new names, they still have much of their core group from last season. Mexican international Jonathan Dos Santos holds down the midfield while Romain Alessandrini’s craftiness and Emma Boateng’s speed bring a lethal presence to the wings. And despite him missing most of last year due to injury, U.S. international Sebastian Lletget is back in the center of the pitch. The combination of their new and returning faces is proving effective thus far as LA currently sits in 2nd place in the Western Conference.

Saturday night will be a contest you won’t want to miss, so make sure to tune in on FOX Sports Southeast for the 10:30 p.m. EST kickoff and for all the other ways to follow the match, click here.

Topics: