After last week’s 4-0 loss to the Houston Dynamo (sorry to bring that up again) the Five Stripes return to 70,000 fans when they host DC United.
Both clubs will be looking to grab their first win of the season as DC dropped two points at Disney City courtesy of a stoppage time goal from Stefano Pinho.
One of the biggest headlines going into Sunday’s home opener is the return of former Atlanta United midfielder Yamil Asad. DC has invested heavily into its wide positions with the acquisition of Asad and Paul Arriola. This could prove to be fatal for the home side as Alberth Elis’ play from a similar position was vital in the 4-0 rout of Atlanta.
DC was able to unlock the Five Stripes last season by sitting back and making good use of their counter attack opportunities. The strategy for DC might differ from previous meetings because of DC undergoing a shift to retain possession more,
“When we do retain possession, when we do win the ball back.” DC head coach Ben Olsen said. “We have to secure the ball. And in the second half of Orlando, that was something that haunted us.”
Along with the return of Yamil Asad, fans will be interested to see who Tata Martino will put in the starting XI. Atlanta defender Leandro González Pirez suffered a hip contusion during the Houston matchup and is listed as day-to-day. His training time with the team has been limited.
2017 MLS All Star defender Michael Parkhurst was left out of the starting XI last week at Houston due to not being match fit for opening week. Jeff Larentowitz was forced out of his usual defensive mid position to cover for the defender’s absence. Parkhurst would later come on to replace the injured Pirez.
Atlanta United fans and players are looking to recover from last week’s loss and grab the first win of the 2018 season.
“We have to be a group now to pick up our heads and have the confidence to go out and win for the people of Atlanta this week.” Defender Greg Garza said.
DC Goals: Yamil Asad (because apparently that’s how it works?)
Atlanta Goals: Josef Martinez, Miguel Almirón 2X
It’s hard to pick a team that just lost 4-0 to win its next match…. but that exactly what I’m doing.
DC will score a goal, but it’s hard to contain Atlanta’s destructive attack. Even in the shut out in Houston the Five Stripes had quality chances.
The players and fans are eager and hungry to return to Mercedes Benz, and it will be very loud and rowdy from before kickoff to after 90 minutes.
The atmosphere of Mercedes Benz and the hunger to bounce back will be enough to get the DC monkey off Atlanta’s back and into the win column.