Atlanta United FC vs. FC Dallas | 2017 MLS Match Preview
Atlanta United FC vs. FC Dallas
2017 MLS Regular Season - Week 27
Mercedes-Benz Stadium - Atlanta, Ga.
Sunday, Sept. 10 – 3:30 pm ET
WATCH: FS1, FOX Deportes in USA; MLS LIVE in Canada
All the talk on Sunday will revolve around the first-ever Atlanta United match at their new Mercedes-Benz Stadium home, but the playoff stakes will be top of mind for both ATL UTD (10W-8L-6D, 36pts) and FC Dallas (9W-7L-10D, 37pts), who occupy the sixth and final playoff spot in their respective conferences and find themselves in the midst of a contentious playoff race.
This is an especially critical stretch for the Five Stripes, who will play six straight matches and eight of their final 10 matches in their new digs as they attempt to make the playoffs in their debut season. After some early-season stumbles at Bobby Dodd Stadium, ATL are currently riding a six-game home unbeaten run (5W-0L-1D).
FC Dallas, who compiled the best regular season record last year (17W-8L-9D in 2016), are hoping to finally break out of a seven-match winless streak (0W-4L-3D) that has seen them drop in the Western Conference standings. They will be buoyed by the return of playmaker Mauro Diaz to the starting lineup last week, when he inspired 10-man FCD to a comeback home draw.
Should he start on the new MBS field, Diaz will be looking to outduel Atlanta's midfield catalyst, Paraguayan international Miguel Almiron, who will be coming off a short week of training after featuring for his country in World Cup qualifying. The conditions of returning international players like Almiron – three Atlanta players and five from FC Dallas – will clearly factor in both managers' lineup decisions.
- Suspended: None
- Suspended next yellow card: MF Jeff Larentowicz
- International duty: None
- Injury Report: OUT — GK Alec Kann (left quad injury); QUESTIONABLE — FW Kenwyne Jones (knee inflammation), DF Mark Bloom (lower back injury)
Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1, right to left): Brad Guzan — Anton Walkes, Michael Parkhurst, Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, Greg Garza — Jeff Larentowicz, Carlos Carmona — Hector "Tito" Villalba, Miguel Almiron, Yamil Asad — Josef Martinez
Notes: After losing two of their first three MLS home games, Atlanta are unbeaten in their last six (5W-1D) and have outscored the opposition 16-6 over the course of those games. … Tyrone Mears scored the injury time equalizer against Philadelphia in Atlanta’s last game. It snapped a 62-game regular season scoreless streak, and was just his second goal in 81 career league appearances.
- Suspended: MF Jacori Hayes (red card suspension)
- Suspended next yellow card: None
- International duty: None
- On Loan: DF Walker Hume (Orange County), DF Anibal Chala (LDU Quito), FW Adonijah Reid (Ottawa Fury)
- Injury Report: None
Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1, right to left): Jesse Gonzalez— Hernan Grana, Walker Zimmerman, Matt Hedges, Ryan Hollingshead — Carlos Gruezo, Kellyn Acosta — Michael Barrios, Maxi Urruti, Roland Lamah — Cristian Colman
Notes: FC Dallas' seven-game winless run is their longest since an eight-game streak from April 26th to May 31st, 2014 (106 games between the two runs). … Jacori Hayes’ red card against the Red Bulls last weekend was FCD's 16th since the start of 2014. Only six MLS teams have received more red cards since the start of the 2014 season.
Sunday's match will be the first-ever meeting between the expansion side and the defending Supporters' Shield holders.
Referee: Mark Geiger
Assistant Referees: Ian Anderson (bench side), Brian Poeschel (far side)
Fourth Official: Mark Kadlecik
Video Assistant Referee (VAR): Robert Sibiga