Atlanta United vs. Columbus Crew September 14, 2019 Pre-Match Guide
Time: 7:00 PM
Where: Mercedes Benz Stadium Atlanta, GA
Where to watch and listen: Fox Sports South, 92.9 FM, Fox Sports GO, Fox Sports Ohio
Columbus Crew Scouting Report:
Despite their position in the table, the Crew have been in sneaky good form as of late with only one loss in their last 9 games. Granted four draws in their last seven isn’t great, but they don’t give points away easily and if not for a last minute winner from Chicago Fire, Columbus would have had a win in their last game. Overall they sit in 11th place and are 8 points out of the playoffs so this game is a must win for them. They have scored 33 goals this year, but they have also let in 44 leading to a -11 goal differential. They have two players that are sure to feature and could be a potential handful for the Atlanta United defence. Striker Gyasi Zardes whom many know from his exploits with the USMNT has 11 goals this year in 24 games. They also feature Pedro Santos, an attacking midfielder who has had a very good season with 10 goals (which is more than any United player not named Josef). These two players combine for a very good 1-2 punch through the center of the pitch, and from watching Zardes on the USMNT he isn’t afraid to drift out wide using his pace to help his team score. The Crew have played a varied amount for formations but mostly stick to the 4-2-3-1, playing a flat back four and using Zardes as the point man up top. They are slightly weaker on the wings but they have players like Wil Trapp, a holding center midfielder who also plays for the USMNT. He is their Nagbe who picks out the passes and controls the tempo of the game. While their home record as a team is very good their away form is lacking, shown by the fact that they have been shut-out 7 times on the road and have managed only 4 clean sheets. Although this team has been underachieving a bit this year, they should not be taken lightly as they still have talent in Zardes and Santos that can threaten this bolstered Atlanta defense.
Atlanta United Preview:
If this team hasn’t gone from Mr.Hyde to Dr.Jekyll I don’t know what team has. Just a few months ago, many fans were calling for Frank De Boer’s job and asking if Pity Martinez truly belonged or was just a flash in the pan. Yet all that seems to have gone by the wayside even after a disappointing 3-1 defeat to Philadelphia after being up 1-0 on the road. With that loss Atlanta now has 7 wins in 9 games, a great stretch that included not one but two trophies. Those two trophies are great and look nice in the ever growing trophy cabinet but the biggest one is still out there and up for grabs. The Five Stripes have 47 goals this year and boast the 2nd best defense in the league allowing only 33 goals leading to a great +14 goal differential, which could become important for seeding in the coming weeks. As everyone in the world of the soccer knows, it’s Josef Martinez who scores and there is next to nothing that will stop him. If it weren’t for LAFC forward Carlos Vela, Josef would again be running away with the Golden Boot, having scored 23 goals already. Then there is the great German machine Julian Gressel, so precise with his crosses and playing at his best now that De Boer has let the reins go a bit and has 9 assists. Formation wise Atlanta has started playing well in the 3-4-2-1, although it plays more like a 5-2-3 with two wing backs running the channels with Barco and or Pity joining Josef in the attack. They may have lost to Columbus earlier in the year but that was on the road and before they found their form under their new coach and got in a groove. Lastly there is some great statistical evidence to show that this can be a win with Atlanta averaging 2.1 goals per home game and allowing 1.2 goals. Also the 5 stripes have never been shut out at home this year.
Atlanta 3 – Columbus 1; goals from Josef and Pity lead the 5 stripes to victory as Columbus scores a late garbage time goal