Can Atlanta United defend its fortress from the league leaders?
Atlanta United has so far had the best week of their 2022 season with back-to-back wins against Toronto FC and Orlando City SC. The attack is looking dangerous, the team is scoring goals, and - very importantly - the team is ACTUALLY WINNING! That's all well and good, but can the Five Stripes keep it up against Philadelphia, a team that put four past them at Subaru Park just a few weeks ago?
Philadelphia (18-9-4) leads the league with 63 points in 31 games. Its outscored opponents 68-22 and has both the most prolific attack in the league and the best defense in the league. Philly's expected goals for this season is 58.1 and its expected goals allowed is 34.9. Although they have an average number of shot-creating actions per 90 (20.55), they lead the league in goal-creating actions per 90 with 3.65. The names to watch for in the Union's attack are Daniel Gazdag (19 goals, 5 assists), Julian Carranza (14 goals, 6 assists), Mikael Uhre (12 goals, 3 assists), and Alejandro Bedoya (6 goals, 6 assists).
Atlanta United Predicted XI
Philadelphia Union Predicted XI
How does Atlanta Win?
Keep the momentum going and ride the support of the crowd at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Even though Philadelphia seems like a big, scary opponent, Atlanta managed to play a pretty good first half against them when they last faced off. Now, Atlanta comes in with a different goalkeeper, a different formation, and morale at an all-time high as they have begun to show that they aren't ready to go down just yet.
Philadelphia is very well-structured defensively and they'll likely try to absorb pressure early on until Atlanta is worn out and play on the counterattack. This means two things: Atlanta needs to track back quickly when they lose possession and they need to be very disciplined and organized with their marking as many of these Philly attackers can be extremely dangerous when afforded too much space.
Atlanta also needs to make sure they're putting away the chances they get as they're unlikely to get many good chances against the Union.