After a week long break, Atlanta United gets ready to face off against Columbus Crew in a match that is a near “must win” as the regular season begins to wind down.
The Columbus Crew are feeling confident and like their old selves again with their talisman, Justin Meram, back from a short and ineffective stint in Orlando City. With Meram back in the starting XI, as well as 3 consecutive wins, and the Crew have their eyes set on walking away with all 3 points from Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
While Atlanta United look to maintain their lead in the Supporters’ Shield run, other teams like New York City FC and the New York Red Bulls are not making it easy for them.
Both New York teams are within single digits of catching up with ATL UTD so the next few days are key in the positioning of the MLS Eastern Conference Table.
Closing Out the Match
As Tata Martino stated in an interview, Atlanta could have up to 55 points right now. The only issue is that they struggle getting the closing goal to shut down any opponent opportunities of equalizing the match.
In the last minutes of a handful of matches, including last week’s against Toronto FC, Atlanta has given up late-time equalizers.
Even though Atlanta has had a great looking back line to work in synchronicity with their offensive prowess, to close out games they need the extra goal to hit the back of the goal net to grab all 3 points that they deserve by the end of each match.
As much as the image of last year’s playoffs burns inside the heads of all Atlanta United fans, it will only add fuel to the fire for the 5 Stripes players to protect the downtown fortress.