This Friday, Atlanta United end their three game road trip in Salt Lake City as they get ready to take on Western Conference opponent Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium Friday at 9 P.M. ET which can be seen broadcasted live on the Univision Deportes Network or UniMas. Atlanta United look to get back to winning ways as their 5 game shoutout winning streak came to an end against eastern conference rivals New York Red Bulls on Sunday at Red Bull Arena. Real Salt Lake are coming off a big win at home vs. Toronto F.C. by a score of 3-0 and are on a two game win streak. Atlanta sits in 4th place of the Eastern Conference table with 20 points, one behind the Montreal Impact and four behind table toppers D.C. United and Philadelphia Union. United have games in hand against all teams so they still have a chance to climb up the top of the standings. RSL are 7th place in the Western Conference table with 16 points, so far most wins have come from opponents with losing records so not much too impressive, but after their dominating performance over Toronto F.C last week they will be a tough competitor to beat especially at home. All-Time Atlanta has had the edge over the Rocky Mountain team with two wins in two matches, one at Rio Tinto Stadium and one at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. With Copa America and Gold Cup approaching the question remains is how the team will be affected by the loss of players like Josef Martinez and maybe others, that’s what makes these next matches for United so important to get as many points as they can pick up against RSL, Minnesota United and the Chicago Fire, all teams are beatable but it is much easier said then done.
For the most part though, United will not be very busy in the month of June with only 3 total games scheduled. The first match in Atlanta vs. the Chicago Fire on June 1st, June 26th in Toronto and the third at home vs. Montreal June 29th. Atlanta has done a lot of traveling on the road so this long break might be useful for the team, even though we know some of our players will be off on International Duty. Tito Villalba will likely be out for this match as he picked up an injury on Sunday vs. the NYRB so that brings up the question of who will now replace him on the left side with him out for an uncertain amount of time and Barco off playing with Argentina in the U-20 World Cup. The answer will likely be either Dion Pereira or Justin Meram on the left attacking midfield position. Pereira has been very bright in the matches that he’s played in especially on the left side with his quick bursts of speed blowing past defenders and quality passing and dribbling efficiency. In my opinion, he should get the nod over Meram mainly because he deserves it and should get a chance in the starting team, this is Dion’s time now to show off what he’s got to his coaches and five-stripe fans. Most of the starting lineup should as well be the same from the last match with only one question being if Break Shea or Michael Parkhurst start at Left-Back and since Parkhurst played most of the last game on Sunday, Brek Shea will likely get the start over Parkhurst. Atlanta United will look to get a third straight win over Real Salt Lake and hope to get a statement victory at one of the most difficult and beautiful places in MLS. Trust me, if you have ever been there before Rio Tinto Stadium has a beautiful back drop of the Rockies especially in the spring or winter when there is still plenty of snow on them. Anyway like always, VAMOS UNITED!
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