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Prekrap: Atlanta United vs. DC United - somehow this game might determine first in the East

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How?

MLS: Minnesota United FC at Atlanta United FC Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

There was so much blood... There wasn’t that much, but it was unpleasant and I wouldn’t recommend cutting your knuckle doing dishes. I bring this up because I cut my hand doing dishes on a Cubs glass, I take that as a sign that this is not their year, and missed the first 3 goals of the Houston game. Apparently, Atlanta played well and Houston got a red card in six minutes so it was a vintage performance. I’m pretty bummed I missed it - to give you an idea of how the trip to urgent care went for me the doctor told me I was very brave when I was getting stitches. That means I was not very brave, that’s what you tell an eight year-old with a skinned knee before applying hydrogen peroxide while they’re screaming at the sight of their own blood. I did drive myself to get stitched up so can maintain some of my dignity in a very inconsequential way.

I’m writing this with 7 fingers and every now and then I move my index finger involuntarily and am sure my whole hand is falling off, but luckily it doesn’t. All that is to say that I’m putting myself through a slight inconvenience to write this with fewer than 10 fingers and am occasionally in a minor amount of discomfort so if there are run on sentences, typos, or anything that doesn;t make sense anymore than normal it’s because I didn’t want to spend an extra 30 seconds fixing something that took me slightly longer to write.

Like the good ole days

Think back to a time, a simpler time, DC United wasn’t winning, Atlanta was scoring five goals on teams made up of scrubs and college graduates while forcing dumb red cards... ahh, Spring of 2018 was so long ago...

DC United comes into the game against Atlanta riding a streak of winning just two of their last 10 games. They did just demolish FC Cincinnati 4-1 on Thursday, but a bit of defensive indifference probably contributed to the score.

Since nothing that has happened over the last 5 or so games matters in MLS apparently, their terrible winning percentage over that time means that DCU is in 2nd in the East. That run of 10 games had DC scoring 14 goals but only allowing 13, it’s not good and not awful but coming off of a game that was a glorified attacking exercise should have them feeling confident against an Atlanta team that has had a shaky defense in recent games. Typically Ben Olsen dislikes goals, but he might change things up and go with a more open game against Atlanta if he thinks his team can exploit the Five Stripes defenders.

Can we just always play Houston midweek at home from now on

The picture in the Prekrap for the Houston match clearly conjured Miguel Almiron’s spirit on Wednesday and it was amazing seeing the team take care of a 10 man team and take all three points this time. It was the best 84 minutes Atlanta played all year, the attack was fun, the defense solid, and the opponent embarrassingly falling down while Josef Martinez scored the goal of the week. Despite the white out, er Peach Out, working problems and questions remain while some brighter spots are emerging.

For the game against DC United, Franco Escobar will return, Ezequiel Barco and George Bello are back in training, and Emerson Hyndman looks like an absolute steal in central midfield. Still, how the team lines up this weekend will be a mystery. Did Frank de Boer like what he saw with the 3-5-2 enough to run it out again or will he go back to the four man backline with Escobar back and possibly start Michael Parkhurst at left back until Bello is fully fit?

4-3-3 seems to be his formation of choice, but DCU will pose some problems for Atlanta if that’s the direction he goes in. Paul Arriola is a fast and crafty winger and Parky might have difficulty keeping up with him, Luciano Acosta has torn through the Atlanta midfield in the past and Wayne Rooney is the third best over 29 year old European import in the league. Add to it that Lucas Rodriguez can take advantage of absent minded defenders and the front four for DC creates some dangerous issues for the Five Stripes.

That isn’t to say that Atlanta won’t do the same, DC has one less day of rest coming into the match having played in Cincinnati on Thursday and their defense has been shaky as of late also. After seeming like he was ready to make a case for being a keeper on the national team, Bill Hamid has taken a step back Russell Canouse isn’t quite shutting down the midfield as he had to finish up last year. DC has been playing in a 5-3-2/3-5-2 of sorts recently but the change hasn’t led to better results and new acquisition Chris McCann has not shown himself to be a difference maker in Black and Red this year.

With DC struggling to find its defensive form, if Atlanta can build possession and hold off the DC attack, second or even first place in the East is within reach.

Did you know the guy in the distracted boyfriend meme is Andrew Shue?

The 4-3-3 is the one all your friends tell you to stay away from. You know it won’t work out and will just end in heartbreak and disappointment... but when it does work there are fireworks and the heart wants what the heart wants - so in the end we’re helpless to our desires and free will is just a myth,

It’s not really Andrew Shue, calm down

I really take no joy in writing this. It’s hard to imagine that Atlanta goes back to the 3-5-2 this week and if DC can do enough to disrupt the possession Atlanta tries to build, it might be another difficult match against the 2nd place team in the East.