My feeling of optimism preceding Atlanta United games was short lived. In fact, it lasted just one. A promising win against FC Dallas was soon cancelled out by a lackluster loss to the Chicago Fire, and it seems like the win over the Texan side was merely an illusion. Still, a visit to D.C. United, one of the few teams still below Atlanta in the standings, could rekindle some confidence.
The team from the capital is dead-last in the league with 11 points and a lone win in its last nine outings. A lot of that has to do with the attacking woes DC is going through. Ben Olsen’s side has scored 11 goals in 14 games (yikes), and been shutout six times. What looked to be a decent frontline coming into the season has underwhelmed, to say the least. Designated-Player Edison Flores has missed 13 games due to injury and remains out after his multi-million dollar move from Morelia in the past offseason. Meanwhile the ex-Atlanta duo of Yamil Asad and Julian Gressel have combined for a lowly 2 goals and 1 assist in 22 appearances, and striker Ola Kamara has found the back of the net just twice. The defense hasn’t compensated for that, instead conceding 20 goals so far, which is the 5th worst tally in the East. Bennyball at its finest!
The situation isn’t much brighter in Atlanta, however. The shock win against FC Dallas sparked hope that the Five Stripes could turn its season around and make a push up the standings in the last month of the season. A defeat to the Chicago Fire cruelly killed any existing hope and now Atlanta is well out of the playoff picture and in 11th on 14 points from as many games. There are 6 points between Atlanta and the last automatic playoff slot, but that divide only seems likely to grow. Still, it’s up to Stephen Glass to motivate the Five Stripes and at least put in some respectable performances during the last nine games of the 2020 season.
Predicted Starting XIs
It’s hard to see anyone walking away from this with three points. The two Uniteds will cancel each other out, though defensive mistakes will still land both sides on the scoresheet.