190515_MatchPreview

Match Preview: Atlanta United at Vancouver Whitecaps

No time to rest for Atlanta United, who will continue fighting through their congested May schedule as they’re back in action yet again Wednesday night in Vancouver, Canada to face the Whitecaps. Atlanta is looking for their sixth win in seven matches while Vancouver is hoping to make it four straight unbeaten.

Two teams with eyes on extending their hot streaks go head-to-head at BC Place Wednesday night, so make sure to tune in at 10 p.m. ET on FOX Sports South or FOX Sports GO. For all the details on how to follow the match, click here.

Atlanta United (5-3-2)

The Five Stripes are enjoying their best run of form of the season so far. Sunday’s 1-0 victory over Orlando City marked their fifth win out of six matches and a fifth clean sheet in that same span –– tying an MLS record for a shutout streak. From a formidable back line, to a midfield dominant in possession, to a lethal front core, this is a team firing on all cylinders even in the thick of a tough May stretch.

Even with a high-performing Ezequiel Barco called into international duty at the start of the month, they’ve kept their winning streak alive for the last two matches because of the depth of quality on the team. Reigning Golden Boot Winner Josef Martinez has two goals and two assists in the last three matches, Tito Villalba’s pace and energy has put opponents’ defenses on their heels and Pity Martínez capped off a string of impressive performances that culminated in his first MLS goal last weekend against Orlando. In addition, Julian Gressel’s tacked on two goals in the last four matches in the attack, while Darlington Nagbe and Eric Remedi have developed a midfield partnership stronger than any in MLS. But it’s the back line that have impressed most this year. Goalkeeper Brad Guzan and his defensive line led by Leandro González Pirez and U.S. youth international Miles Robinson boast one of the toughest defenses in the league, tied for the fewest goals conceded in MLS so far this year.

However, De Boer mentioned to media that with the amount of matches in a short time period, there’d be opportunities for others to step up and contribute in order to give those who have been clocking a lot of minutes enough rest. While fans will have to wait for the lineup to see how much change there could be, De Boer has plenty of options like Jeff Larentowicz, who made his 400th MLS appearance last weekend, or the debut start for new signing Justin Meram who the Five Stripes brought in to reinforce their already-potent attacking core.

Vancouver Whitecaps (3-5-3)

Despite sitting just below the playoff line in the Western Conference standings, Vancouver find themselves in a good run of form, coming off back-to-back wins against the Colorado Rapids and the Portland Timbers. In addition to Atlanta, Vancouver is also a team with a new coach still acclimating to a new system, so their form to start the year isn’t necessarily indicative of the team’s potential as they’ve shown in recent weeks.

The Whitecap’s most valuable piece of the puzzle starts up front with former Sounders star Fredy Montero, who brings equal parts pace & technical ability and who’s combined 24 goals and assists are more than any Whitecaps player – with the exception of one – since 2017, despite playing abroad for the entirety of the 2018 season. Unfortunately for Vancouver, their other danger man up front in Peruvian international Yordy Reyna suffered an injury that still has him sidelined for a few more weeks.

But they still have a solid core in the center of the park. While Spanish midfielder Jon Erice is questionable after suffering a training ground injury, Canadian box-to-box midfielder Russell Teibert and South Korean trickster Hwang In-Beom are expected to be available for selection. And despite a rocky start to the season, the defense has since locked it down particularly at BC Place where they’ve only allowed one goal in their last three home matches. They’ll have to remain as formidable as ever to keep that streak going against a hungry Atlanta side in good form.

Wednesday night is an interconference clash you don’t want to miss. Make sure to tune in at 10:00 p.m. ET on FOX Sports South or FOX Sports GO, or listen to the match via 92.9 The Game, La Mejor Atlanta or via the Atlanta United App. For more info on how to follow all the action, click here.

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