Atlanta United did enough to survive back-to-back road games against Chicago and Orlando without defeat, but that was where the good news ended. The Five Stripes’ usual deficiencies were on full display in both outings and the two draws could easily have been two defeats with a few bounces going the other way. Nonetheless, Atlanta somehow remained near the top of the East and can further cement its status with a Wednesday night visit from an injury-ravanged New England Revolution.
The Revs are 3rd in the Eastern Conference on 25 points, but whereas it was tied for first only a few weeks ago, Cincinatti (33 points) and Nashville (28) have now outpaced it. Bruce Arena’s side began the season with 6 wins in its first 9 but has managed just one victory in the most recent six fixtures and is winless in four. A large reason for the downturn in form is New England’s current injury crisis, in which usual starters Dylan Borrero (out for the season), Gustavo Bou, Carles Gil, and Henry Kessler are all unavailable, along with a number of bench pieces. Gil (3 goals, 1 assist), Bou (2g, 1a), and Borrero (2g) were all key cogs in New England’s attack, the fourth best in the East with 22 scored. Without those three, Giacomo Vrioni (3g) and Bobby Wood (4g, 3a) in particular have picked up the slack, but there’s still been a significant dropoff. That’s been the same case defensively, and though New England still boasts the 5th-best goals against in the East, it’s conceded three in two games straight and even shifted from Arena’s favored 4-2-3-1/4-4-2 to a back three against Chicago last weekend - albeit to little avail after a wild 3-3 draw.
Despite just one win in its last six, only Nashville and Philadelphia have surpassed Atlanta’s tally of 23 points, now good enough for 5th place and 3 clear of 7th. At this point of the season, it’s quite clear what the Five Stripes’ ceiling is, and barring any extreme run of form, this is about where they’ll be for the foreseeable future. Atlanta’s most recent away stretch was a further example of this, with perhaps the biggest takeaway being Tyler Wolff’s emergence as a potential starter thanks to a clutch equalizer against Orlando. Combined with the return of Luiz Araujo from suspension, and Pineda will have almost everyone available in attack, minus Caleb Wiley.
Atlanta has a 5W-3D-3L lead in the all-time series against the Revs, although New England has won three of the last four while the good guys haven’t picked up three points since 2019.
Predicted Starting XIs
Prediction: Atlanta United 2-1 New England Revolution
The Revs’ major injury struggles will be a major boost for Atlanta, who come out on top 2-1 thanks to a Giakoumakis brace, although the Five Stripes’ defensive worries won’t make for a stress-free evening thanks to a Bobby Wood strike.