Atlanta United’s draw vs Orlando may not be a win, but it sure felt like one considering the state of the two clubs. Now, though, the Five Stripes have an excellent opportunity for a real victory when it travels to the league’s bottom dwellers, Inter Miami, this Wednesday.
Atlanta’s attacking woes may seem bad, but Miami’s issues are even worse. The Floridian expansion side has gone three matches scoreless, and is bereft of difference makers in the final third. 20-year-old forward Julian Carranza has failed to follow up a brace vs Orlando with much of anything, Rodolfo Pizarro isn’t capable of providing the sole creative outlet in the side or even a consistent one, and the two wingers, Lewis Morgan and Matias Pellegrini, have disappointed so far, to say the least. That’s not to say Inter Miami is without qualities, however small. Like Nashville, Miami seemed to prioritize defense in the off season, and that has showed on the pitch with 11 goals conceded in 9 matches. Of course, a good defense is moot if the opponent only needs a single goal to win.
Blaise Matuidi has arrived in South Florida, and in fact started Miami’s weekend match against Nashville. There’s a good chance he’ll make another appearance Wednesday, likely as a starter. Surprise, surprise, the World Cup winner is a huge upgrade over the likes of Will Trapp and Victor Ulloa.
Atlanta, on the other hand, is in 8th in the Eastern Conference, although with a game in hand over most teams above it, a win tomorrow night would send it all the way into 5th. Pity Martinez is now an Al-Nassr FC player, which paves the way for Ezequiel Barco to prove his price tag and then some, while carrying Atlanta United to its second ever MLS Cup. Well, it probably won’t turn out just like that, but Barco stepping into a bigger role this season is still a possibility.
Predicted Starting XIs
Prediction: Inter Miami 0-2 Atlanta United
The draw against Orlando has brightened my outlook on the current Atlanta United, if only slightly, and I’m casually optimistic that Atlanta will more or less ease past Miami. The additions of Jurgen Damm, George Bello, and Erick “Cubo” Torres into the starting eleven will certainly help, rather than the somewhat rotated Atlanta that drew Miami 0-0 in these two sides last meeting.