A Rested Atlanta United FC Look To Expand Lead

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 26: Will Trapp
ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 26: Will Trapp /

Atlanta United FC (8-3-1) will hit the road Wednesday night, after a week off, to face New England. A win will extend their MLS league lead.

It’s probably good that Atlanta United FC had the week off. After the loss to New York that featured more referee asininity, the kind that could only be rivaled by MLB replay for our Atlanta Braves, they probably needed time to cool off. I know the fans did. I know this fan did. Tonight, though, The 5 Stripes look to the future and look to expand their conference lead Wednesday night on the road at New England.

It’s not hyperbole to suggest that things were getting out of hand in ATL UTD’s last match. They were on a roll, seemingly up 2-0, and then a goal was taken away, a red card was issued, not to the serially fouling NYC FC, mind you, but to one of the home team’s guys, and it all went south from there. And not in a good way.

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So, they took the “L”, and then took the week off. It was needed. Wednesday’s match in New England should be an interesting test to their mettle. That is meant in all facets of the game: Physically, mentally, emotionally.

For a more in-depth look, go here. That said, and as usual, the fortunes of The 5 Stripes will primarily rest on the wings and feet of Martinez, Almiron, and Barco. The emergence of the young Barco, who scored again against NY, could be a season defining difference.

These two teams have faced each other twice before, with ATL winning one and splitting a tie in the other. The last time at NE ended in the tie, with no goals scored. In fact, coming into this game, New England has never scored on Atlanta. A high scoring affair should favor the away team.

Atlanta will be down Greg Garza (injured and suspended) and Leandro Gonzalez Pirez (suspended). That said, most don’t expect much change in formation (3-5-2).

The host Revolution team is also coming off of a brutal last match. The ending score was a tie, with the resultant point, but New England blew a two goal lead, and let 2 more points squander away. It’ll be interesting to see how they react on Wednesday.

One interesting note, according to mlssoccer.com, Atlanta has scored 11 goals this season off of set pieces. That leads the league. New England has only given up two set piece goals all year. 2nd fewest in MLS.

Atlanta United FC look to exorcise some demons tonight in New England, but then, so does New England. ATL UTD, though, also look to grow their 25 points, and in doing so, grow their Eastern Conference lead.

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Either way, it should be a fun one.