It’s that time of the week again – The day before a match where we analyze Atlanta United’s next victim.
Last Sunday, Atlanta United (5-3-4) earned three points in a rematch vs NYCFC. Miguel Almiron and Tito Villalba scored three goals in seven minutes to give the Five Stripes an early advantage that would hold throughout the duration of the match. The win was the second straight for Atlanta and has given fans plenty of reason to be excited moving forward – so let’s move forward.
This week, Atlanta United is traveling to Canada to face off against the Vancouver Whitecaps (5-1-6) for the first of two straight road matches. The Whitecaps will be looking for nothing other than a win after being absolutely cheated by referees last Saturday vs DC United. Refs haven’t been too fair to Atlanta this season, but Vancouver got the worst of it last Saturday when a flop from Jose Ortiz gave DC United a penalty kick and the only goal of the match.
So, what do you need to be watching for in tomorrow’s match?
A full 90
In Atlanta’s two previous matches, the team has had a convincing lead before the first half whistle was blown. While that is fantastic in all of its ways, don’t expect a similar result against Vancouver. This is the third match of a four-game home stretch for the Caps, so Carl Robinson will be pulling out all of his cards to make sure his home audience is pleased.
Keep the pedal down
We have seen the inevitable goal scoring ability of Atlanta, and it is crucial that they put it on display once again if they want to leave BC Place with three points. The Five Stripes have scored seven goals in the past two matches, and with offensive weapons returning against a team who isn’t quite as good as their last two opponents, Atlanta has an opportunity to put the league on notice with a similar performance. We all know Tata wants to score goals, so expect to see the in-your-face style of attack from Atlanta tomorrow.
The Return of Martinez
Atlanta has seemingly dominated their past two matches without Josef Martinez, so some people have taken a bit of emphasis off his return. However, there is more of a reason to be excited for him to return now than previously. For starters, we learned that this team can compete with and without him. More importantly, with Josef reportedly being back in shape to play, Tata Martino can throw a curveball at Vancouver by bringing in the dangerous striker that we saw carve up defenses in the first three matches. Whether it’s as a starter or a substitute, Josef entering the pitch isn’t something that Vancouver has necessarily been able to prepare for.
A third consecutive three point weekend for Atlanta could get them back on the right side of the red line while still being a couple games behind those who stand ahead of them. Road wins are crucial in making the playoffs, and although it’s something that we haven’t seen too much of this season, expect Atlanta’s impressive run of form to continue tomorrow vs the Caps.