Atlanta United FC vs. Colorado Rapids | 2017 MLS Match Preview
Atlanta United vs. Colorado Rapids
2017 MLS Regular Season
Bobby Dodd Stadium – Atlanta, Georgia
Saturday, June 24 – 7:00 pm ET
WATCH: MLS LIVE
For Atlanta, Saturday’s match is all about fixing their defensive issues. The expansion club have had no trouble scoring – their 32 goals are tops in the league – but they’ve had some problems in the back. The Five Stripes are tied for 18th in MLS with 25 goals conceded, and they’ve give up eight goals in their last four MLS games, three of which have been losses.
They weren’t exactly stingy against in their 2-1 loss at D.C. on Wednesday, allowing 17 shots and conceding twice to a team that had only scored 10 times in 15 games entering the midweek match at RFK.
“[We’ve] just got to stick it out and obviously try to limit mistakes on our end and try not to get them as many chances as we probably did today,” midfielder Julian Gressel said after Wednesday’s match. “Just got to focus on getting better and focus on Saturday.”
Things didn’t go any better for Colorado on Wednesday, with the Rapids losing 3-1 at home to the LA Galaxy to end their three-game MLS winning streak. Colorado nearly got off to a great start, but Josh Gatt and Dominique Badji missed a pair of good early opportunities and LA scored a pair of second half goals to snap Colorado's three-game MLS winning streak.
“We were definitely flat,” Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni said of his team’s second half performance. “A large part has to do with putting opposing defenses under pressure. When you do that, and turn them, and make them face their goal as we did in the first half, you pick up second balls in good areas, which allows your team to come forward, you can set up a perimeter and you can have consistent pressure. In the second half, we started almost lulling ourselves to sleep.”
Atlanta United FC
There weren’t many positives for Atlanta to take out of Wednesday’s defeat at D.C., but the club can take a bit of solace knowing they have a home game to try to make amends. The Five Stripes are 4-2-0 at Bobby Dodd Stadium this year, and have won each of their last three home games. They’ve done so in dominant fashion, too, outscoring NYCFC, Houston and Columbus by a 10-3 margin in their home winning streak.
Paraguayan midfielder Miguel Almiron has been particularly excellent in those three matches, scoring six goals – including a hat trick against Houston on May 20 – to power Atlanta to their three wins. Atlanta and Almiron will look for more of the same against a Rapids team that’s 0-6-0 on the road this year.
- Suspended: None
- Int’l Duty: None
- Injury Report: OUT – Jacob Peterson (right lower leg injury)
Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Alec Kann – Tyrone Mears, Michael Parkhurst, Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, Greg Garza – Carlos Carmona, Julian Gressel – Hector Villalba, Miguel Almiron, Yamil Asad – Josef Martinez
The loss wasn’t the only blow the Rapids were dealt on Wednesday. Colorado also suffered what could be a pair of significant injuries in the attack, with midfielder Mohammed Saeid going down in the second half with a serious-looking knee injury and forward Kevin Doyle suffering a potential broken hand. Both played major roles in Colorado’s recent win streak, and, if they’re out on Saturday, their absences will be keenly felt as the Rapids look for their first road point of the year.
- Suspended: None
- Int’l Duty: None
- Injury Report: OUT – M Bismark Adjei-Boateng (back injury), D Bobby Burling (foot injury), M Mohammed Saeid (knee injury); QUESTIONABLE – M Shkelzen Gashi (hamstring injury), F Kevin Doyle (hand injury)
Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Tim Howard – Marlon Hairston, Kortne Ford, Axel Sjoberg, Mike da Fonte – Jared Watts, Micheal Azira – Joshua Gatt, Dillon Powers, Dominique Badji – Alan Gordon
Saturday’s match will be the first-ever meeting between Atlanta and Colorado.
Referee: Silviu Petrescu
Assistant Referees: Peter Manikowski, Kevin Klinger
Fourth Official: Caleb Mendez