After a mid-week break because of the MLS All-Star game, Atlanta United will resume its regular season play Saturday afternoon when the team will host the Los Angeles Galaxy with kickoff set at 5 p.m. Both teams are coming off losses, but with both teams looking to climb up the standings in their respective conference, this matchup will go a long way in the playoff race. Here’s a breakdown of each team:
Record: 11-9-3, 36 points, 2nd Eastern Conference
The Five Stripes lost to LAFC 4-3 last Friday, but despite the defeat, Atlanta showed grit and determination in the match by not giving up and scoring two late goals and coming close of coming away with a tie. Should the team show the same kind of performance against the Galaxy, Atlanta could earn a valuable three points at home.
At the moment, Atlanta is three points away from first place in the Eastern Conference, but the team is also four points away from being in eighth place and missing out on the playoffs. Therefore, all the matches become very important for the Five Stripes.
After being out for a month due to injury, midfielder Ezequiel Barco is back to being fully healthy and should see playing time Saturday. Meanwhile, Tito Villalba, George Bello, and Kevin Kratz are back in training, but they are still a bit far away from being selected in the 18. Also, Leandro Gonzalez-Pirez will not play due to being suspended with a card accumulation.
Last but not least, Josef Martinez will look to score a goal in its nine straight matches and should he accomplish such task, Martinez will tie his record, which he set last season.
Record: 12-9-1, 37 points, 3rd Western Conference
The Galaxy lost its last match against Portland in a 4-0 but not only did the team lose in the scoreboard, but they also lost key players for Saturday’s match.
Against Atlanta, the Galaxy will be without its main star, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, due to yellow card accumulation. Also, key players Efrain Alvarez and Diego Polenta will not play after being red-carded against the Timbers.
The team from the West Coast has faced Atlanta twice in the last two seasons and has lost both times, but with a much-improved roster, Saturday’s matchup should give the Galaxy hope to finally earn a victory against the current MLS Champions finally.