Tools to the Match: How Atlanta United picks up road win at Chicago

Atlanta United travels Sunday to Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois to take on Eastern Conference foe Chicago Fire FC. The match kicks off at 7:30pm ET on Fox Sports Southeast. Let’s take a look at the Tools to the Match presented by The Home Depot.

Keeping a Clean Sheet

Atlanta United snapped its losing streak with a 1-0 victory against Dallas last time out. It marked the third clean sheet of the season and the 37th in MLS Regular Season play since Atlanta joined the league in 2017. That’s the most of any league team in that time frame. Atlanta United’s defense allowed a season-low one shot on target for Dallas in the victory. Producing another strong defensive outing on Sunday against Chicago will go a long way to securing three more points for the 5-Stripes. 

Douse The Fire Attack

Chicago’s offense produced a 4-0 scoreline against Houston in midweek. Robert Beric scored his team-leading fifth goal of the season, while attacking midfielder Alvaro Medran tallied his second of the season. The Spanish midfielder created multiple chances and looked dangerous all night long vs. Houston. Atlanta United’s defense will need to be locked in from the start to ensure the Fire’s attack doesn’t get rolling.  

Atlanta’s defense got a boost in midweek with the return of veteran center back Fernando Meza to the starting lineup. The Argentine made five clearances and won 100 percent of his duels defensively. He also had an excellent passing accuracy of 87.8 percent and organized the defense despite having to adjust to a new center back partner for the second half. Meza was recognized on the MLS Team of the Week on Thursday.

Bringing The Energy From the Start

Against Dallas in midweek, Atlanta came out focused and flying from the opening minute. That energy started up top with the trio of Jake Mulraney, Jon Gallagher and Brooks Lennon, and permeated throughout the team. The team was able to press, especially in the first half, and forced Dallas into playing long balls, which Atlanta’s back four collected most of the night. That energy and intensity is something that Lennon hopes to see in every match from now on. 

“It’s not always going to be pretty, but first and foremost we need to go out every single game with that kind of energy and intensity. The footballing and prettiness will come” said Lennon in his post-match comments. “I think as long as we go out there with 100 percent effort in every single player that is on the field like we did tonight, the wins will come. There are not many games left this season because of the season being rescheduled, so every game and every three points matters now.”

Tune in to the match on Sunday night on Fox Sports Southeast when Atlanta United travels to take on Chicago Fire FC at 7:30pm ET.