A midweek loss to FC Cincinnati showed that Atlanta United’s revival isn’t quite as complete as we thought, but there’s no need to worry just yet. The Five Stripes have a chance to bounce back almost immediately when it visits FC Dallas on Saturday night, its last outing for two weeks thanks to the international break.
Dallas is in the midst of a bit of a summer swoon, picking up just a sole victory in its last five and falling to 9th in the Western Conference with 33 points. There was hope it could build on a 6th place Supporters Shield finish in 2022 and vy for the top of the West, but so far the opposite has been the case under second-year manager Nico Estevez. Dallas’ weaknesses (too methodical and slow to cause problems in the final third) remain the same, and it has the 2nd fewest goals scored in the West with 27. Its defense, on the other hand, is the second-best with 28 conceded, but that hasn’t been enough to make up for the lack of offensive production. Jesus Ferreira (10 goals) is Dallas’ only attacker with more than 4 goals + assists combined, and he hasn’t been available the past few games due to illness. If that remains the same this weekend, what’s left of Dallas’ attack falls on the shoulders of the young Argentinian Alan Velasco (2g, 2a) who hasn’t quite lived up to the billing so far - much like Dallas itself this season.
Atlanta, meanwhile, was finally starting to hit top form before it ran smack into FC Cincinnati and was brought back down to reality. Despite the loss and shaky performance, the good news is that the Five Stripes only have to play Cincy once more in 2023 and everyone else in the Eastern Conference playoff picture failed to pick up maximum points as well. A win at Dallas could see Gonzalo Pineda’s side move from 6th to 3rd, and would be the perfect send off for the international break.
The all-time series is split at 2 wins each, with the most recent meeting being a 1-0 Atlanta win in 2020.
Predicted Starting XIs
Prediction: FC Dallas 1-1 Atlanta United
The Five Stripes will pick up a point on the road thanks to a strike from Giorgos Giakoumakis, but it won’t be enough for all three against Dallas’ stingy backline.