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Match Preview: New York City FC vs Atlanta United

The Five Stripes try to find three points at Yankee Stadium.

Atlanta United travels to Yankee Stadium to face New York City FC on Sunday to end a less-than-ideal run of away games.

New York City FC is currently fourth in the east with 28 points in 16 games and a record of 8-4-4. They also hold the 2nd best home record in the league this season (6-2-1) behind LAFC. Atlanta United's all-time record at Yankee Stadium is 1-1-3 and has been outscored there 11-4 in those five meetings between the teams. The team's main stars are Valentin "Taty" Castellanos (8 goals, 1 assist), Maxi Moralez (0 goals, 6 assists), Santiago Rodríguez (2 goals, 5 assists), and Talles Magno (4 goals, 4 assists). New York City leads the league in overall expected goals (1.99) and expected goals at home (2.29). The team holds the 2nd best expected goals allowed statistic in the league with 1.18.

Even though NYCFC are the reigning MLS Cup Champs and Atlanta United isn't having the best run of its career, there are a couple of bright sides to this match. First, NYCFC have not been the same since Ronny Deila left his post as the manager. Since Deila's departure, NYCFC have not won a game in any competition, have a record of 0-1-2, and have conceded seven goals in just three games. The team will also be without defensive midfielder Keaton Parks, who is out after undergoing surgery to remove a blood clot from his right leg, and center back Maxime Chanot, who was injured after colliding with the goal post during their game against Cincinnati.

These are signs of major defensive weaknesses that Atlanta's attack can exploit now that they'll have Thiago Almada back. This will mark the first match in which Atlanta's four main attacking threats: Marcelino Moreno, Thiago Almada, Luiz Araújo, and Josef Martínez all start together.

While this match definitely has the potential to be a high-scoring affair, Atlanta's continually problematic backline could mean a lot of those goals are scored in Atlanta's net.

Atlanta United Predicted Starting XI

New York City FC Predicted Starting XI

How Does Atlanta Win?

Good question.

Atlanta needs to try to keep the ball up top and put pressure on NYCFC's reduced back line. If the midfield can provide continued service to the guys up top and the attacking players can make runs into the box (I'm looking at you Josef), Atlanta can easily get in front. They have the attacking talent to score many goals and cause problems for this spiraling New York side.

The problems start when the ball crosses into Atlanta's half, but there's not much that can be done there for this game. The transfer market opens soon though, and I hear there's a tall center back and goalkeeper in our future.

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