After a two-week break, Atlanta United will be back in action tomorrow when the team will host the Columbus Crew at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Despite a defeat against Philadelphia in their last match, August was a very successful month for the Five Stripes, who will look to replicate such success in their upcoming six matches of the regular season. With only six points and a game in hand separating Atlanta from first place in the Eastern Conference, the ending of the regular season for the Five Stripes will be extremely important in determining playoff seeding.
Here is a preview of each team ahead of Saturday’s match:
Record: 15-10-3, 48 points, 3rd Eastern Conference
The Five Stripes only need two points to clinch a playoff spot, therefore a win against the Crew will confirm Atlanta’s appearance in the MLS playoffs for the third straight year. United also control their own destiny in the Eastern Conference, as a first place finish is still within reach but the team needs to win their remaining six matches of the regular season.
At the moment, Atlanta currently has an 11-game winning streak at the Benz, the third-longest streak in MLS this season and also, Josef Martinez has scored in 13 straight games, the longest streak ever in MLS.
Atlanta lost to Columbus 2-0 earlier in the regular season but United also defeated the Crew 3-2 in June during Open Cup competition.
Record: 8-15-7, 31 points, 11th Eastern Conference
The Crew started the season well with a 4-1-1 record but since then have fallen to a 4-6-14 record, which is not great.
Despite the not so great season, Columbus still have a shot, very minimal, at making the playoffs since the team is only eight points away from seventh place. But in order for them to have any shot at making the playoffs, the Crew has to come into Mercedes-Benz Stadium and earn three points, a task that not many teams have been able to accomplish this season.
Columbus tied 1-1 with Chicago Fire in their last match on August 31.