Atlanta United ready for round 2 of MLS playoffs

Ezequiel Barco attempts a shot at goal against New England in the first round of the 2019 MLS playoffs

With a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals on the line, Atlanta United will host the Philadelphia Union tonight at 8 p.m. at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

The winner of this matchup will host Toronto FC in the Eastern Conference Final next week, after Toronto defeated top seed New York City FC 2-1 last night at Citi Field.

Here is a preview for each team:

Atlanta United (No. 2 seed Eastern Conference)

The Five Stripes will attempt to advance to the Eastern Conference Final for the second consecutive year.

In the first round, Franco Escobar scored the game-winning goal for United against New England Revolution, his fifth goal in an Atlanta uniform. The biggest concern for Atlanta is who will replace center back Michael Parkhurst, after he suffered a dislocated shoulder in the last match.

With Miles Robinson also out due to a hamstring injury, I expect Florentin Pogba to be placed in the starting 11 but it will be interesting to see which player and formation manager Frank De Boer will pick.

Another thing to watch for will be if Pity Martinez will see some action, since he has been left on the bench during the last two matches.

Against the Union this season, Atlanta tied at home and lost 3-1 when the teams last met in Philly. 

Philadelphia Union (No. 3 seed Eastern Conference)

The Union won their first ever postseason match last weekend when they defeated the New York Red Bulls 4-3 in extra time. Philadelphia overcame a 3-1 deficit, which equaled the largest comeback in MLS playoff history.

Now Philadelphia will look to upset Atlanta at home and book a trip to their first ever Eastern Conference Final. 

If they plan to achieve suck task, the Union will need players such as Marco Fabian, Kacper Przybylko, Haris Medunjanin and team-captain Alejandro Bedoya to play their best game of the season. 

For the Union, Bedoya did not finish playing the last match due to an apparent hamstring injury but it has since been reported that he will be able to play against Atlanta.

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