Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia
When: Saturday, April 7th, 2 pm PT
How to watch: ESPN
With the result from El Trafico still leaving a bitter taste in their mouth, Los Angeles Football Club has shifted its focus to its next opponent.
It is a tough opponent too, in Atlanta United. Still relatively new in the league themselves, Atlanta is already becoming a powerhouse, both on the field, and in their stadium, which provides a great atmosphere and where again and again Atlanta fans have broken the largest single game attendance record.
There are some similarities in how the teams were put together. Both seek to play high pace attacking soccer, both like to get out into space, and both have young South American stars leading the way, Diego Rossi for LAFC and Miguel Almiron for Atlanta United.
Atlanta broke another MLS record when they paid a $15 million transfer fee for another young South American star, Ezeqiuel Barco. Unfortunately for the Five Stripes, Barco picked up an injury in the preseason and will most likely not be available for the game this weekend.
Atlanta United’s last game was not like most of the others. They got a 1-0 win in Minnesota.
Unlike most Atlanta United games, they got an early lead and then sat back and absorbed pressure, eventually riding out the victory. This was in part because Leandro Gonzalez Pirez was sent off for getting a second yellow card before halftime.
Still it showed Atlanta can win in more than one way, since they are known for overwhelming teams in attack.
That will probably be on full display on Saturday. Atlanta have one of the best homefield advantages in all of MLS, and they will seek to overwhelm LAFC like the Galaxy did in the second half of last week’s game.
Similarly, LAFC will look to build on their strengths, direct forward play and good counterattacking moves, and with Gonzalez Pirez suspended, Atlanta has some holes in the back.
With the way the game against the Galaxy ended, don’t be surprised if Bob Bradley shakes up the lineup a little bit against Atlanta.
Prediction: Atlanta United 3 LAFC 2. LAFC plays a more complete game than they did last week, but comes up just short against a high-powered Atlanta United team at home. Goals by Carlos Vela and Marcos Urena.
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