Atlanta United is finally back on its home turf today at Bobby Dodd Stadium after an agonizing 20-day stretch on the road. Though not as bad as the team’s previous road trips, fans have eagerly anticipated this one since the team was dealt a swift blow to the gonads by D.C. United. The Five Stripes will surely have that game on their minds as the once again sold out stadium at Bobby Dodd will be absolutely rocking on a Saturday night.
Looking at tonight’s opposition, the Houston Dynamo have been one of MLS’ most intruiging sides to watch this year. Led by new manager Wilmur Cabrera, Houston presents a fearsome attacking presence through players who can score a goal literally out of nowhere. Romell Quioto, Mauro Manotas, Erick “Cubo” Torres are, to put it bluntly, fire emoji in the attack and will all play a role in this one. One of Houston’s other top attacking talents, Alberth Elis, is questionable with a hamstring injury. Other notables for Houston, includes Atlanta’s own Ricardo Clark (a St. Pius X alum) and USMNT veteran DaMarcus Beasley.
While Houston can score with the best of them (they are tied for the league lead in goals scored), they’ve struggled on the road this season losing all four of their games away from BBVA Compass Stadium. In fact, the most recent of these losses happend just days ago as they were downed 2-0 by a resurgent Philadelphia Union team on Wednesday night.
The home side seems to be turning a corner with it’s recent 1-1 draw at Portland last week following the team’s roughest patch of the season. In the abscence of Josef Martinez, who is expected to miss yet another game today, manager Tata Martino seems to have found an effective attacking trident of Yamil Asad and Julian Gressel on the wings with Hector “Tito” Villalba leading the line at striker. Atlanta has held an incredible amount of possession, 72.2%, when playing at home this season. That trend is expected to continue today against a Houston team who like to sit deep and counter. Expect Atlanta to field a similar starting XI to the side that played so well in Portland last week. Greg Garza is still dealing with slight pain in his hip, and Martinez, while improving, is still not quite fit to play. On the other end of the spectrum, Atlanta announced this week that Andrew Carleton and Chris Goslin are available for selection tonight after having recovered from their travels to Panama for U17 World Cup Qualifying. Could Andrew Carleton make the 18, or evenhis debut as a substitute tonight? That’s just one of many tantalizing story lines in the cards.
This one seems like an open and shut case, Atlanta will hold the ball for most of the game and probably create some decent chances, but Houston will counter effectively and have several opportunities to score themselves. But this is MLS, which means that none of that will happen, and instead we’ll see something inconceivable.
Tonight's #ATLUTD Starting XI vs @HoustonDynamo #UniteAndConquer pic.twitter.com/9ct7TEoCrD— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) May 20, 2017
Dynamo starting XI vs Atlanta:— Corey Roepken (@RipSports) May 20, 2017
D: DeLaGarza, Machado, Leonardo, Remick
M: Cabezas, Alex, Boniek
F: Wenger, Manotas, Beasley
How to Watch
Venue: Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA
Kickoff Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
Available TV: Fox Sports Southeast
Available Streaming: Fox Sports Go, fuboTV (free trial), Sling TV, PSVue, MLS Live (outside local viewing area)
Available Radio: 92.9 The Game (available via official ATLUTD mobile app)
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