MLS Playoff Preview: The Conference Semis for Atlanta United begins with a match at home vs. the Philadelphia Union.

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Mercedes-Benz Stadium

After last weeks win at home over the New England Revolution, thanks to Franco Escobar’s solo goal Atlanta United are back in action as they get set to take on the Philadelphia Union tomorrow at Mercedes-Benz Stadium at 8 P.M. on ESPN2.

Both squads are coming off close wins, but both teams stories of advancing to the second round are very different. Atlanta United won a tight and intense battle over the Revolution by the result of 1-0 while the Philadelphia Union had to come back all the way from 3-1 down to defeat the Red Bulls in Extra Time by a final result of 4-3.

It was a crazy and goal packed first round in the MLS Cup Playoffs with a total of 27 goals scored in the first weekend! If Atlanta want to keep their season alive and continue the journey for a third treble this 2019 season, they will need to majorly improve from their performance on Saturday as the Union will not be an easy task at all, especially after coming down from 2 goals down to win this past Sunday.

Atlanta will be a bit shorthanded on the defensive side coming into Thursday’s match as Michael Parkhurst and Miles Robinson are out with injuries. Parkhurst suffered a shoulder injury in Saturday’s win over the Revolution in stoppage time while Robinson is still unavailable with his hamstring/quad injury he suffered while with the U.S. Men’s National Team.

This means United will now be very thin at the centerback position to go along with LGP who is on the verge of another suspension due to yellow card accumulation, a reoccurring problem he’s had numerous times this season. Florentin Pogba, Franco Escobar and Jeff Larentowicz will also be available at the centerback position to fill in any voids, but United cannot afford many more injuries or suspensions defensively as the position is getting thinner and thinner with backup players.

Another question coming from many United fans is where is Pity Martinez? He did not start Saturday’s playoff match and was on the bench, but never was subbed on. Recently, according to head coach Frank De Boer, Pity has not been as productive and prepared for United’s upcoming playoff matches, Emerson Hyndman got the start over Pity Martinez in Atlanta’s first playoff fixture. Expect De Boer to sub on Pity Martinez in the second half if things start heading sideways or if their is no real progress in United’s play throughout the game, hopefully that does not happen.

On the opposing side, Philadelphia Union players Alejandro Bedoya and Kacper Przybylko are questionable to play in tomorrow’s match. Two key players could miss the match as Bedoya is undeniably the Union’s leader and captain while Przybylko has been the Union’s top scoring player during the regular season. Both will likely be game time decisions and their status will determine how Philadelphia approaches going to play in such a hostile environment like the Benz.

Atlanta United are back in action as they get set to take on the Philadelphia Union tomorrow at Mercedes-Benz Stadium at 8 P.M. on ESPN2. VAMOS UNITED!!!

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MLS Playoff Recap: Playoff Prime Franco Escobar’s goal puts Atlanta through to the next round in a 1-0 victory over New England.

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The photo above pretty much sums up every single Atlanta United’s fan reaction when Franco Escobar came up clutch again in the playoffs for his team as his lonely goal gave them the victory in a close and tense first round playoff match against the New England Revolution. Atlanta United came into Saturday’s playoff match undefeated against the Revolution defeating the side 4 times in 6 matched played between the two sides along with two draws, now make that 5 wins in 7 matches played and a ticket to the next round of the MLS Cup Playoffs against the Philadelphia Union on Thursday, November 24th on ESPN2 at 8:00 PM from Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

It was for sure not an easy and smooth victory though for the 5-Stripes as the match stayed scoreless for about 70 minutes until Escobar found the opener and winning goal with a nice finish past the GK into the roof of the net with a helpful assist by teammate Ezequiel Barco.

Brad Guzan played a big factor as well with six important saves including a few which were very close to finding there way past him, but it never happened and he received Man of the Match for his league leading 15th clean sheet of the season.

Another key factor to United’s win was the captain himself, Michael Parkhurst who was replacing the injured Miles Robinson who was out with an injury, Robinson’s status for the next match is questionable for now, but we hope to have him back as Parkhurst suffered a dislocated shoulder which will put him out for about 2 weeks.

It was unfortunate to see him go down as Parkhurst was having a pretty good game defensive wise with accurate sliding tackles and clearances. Substitutions of Florentin Pogba and Tito Villalba were also a big help with Justin Meram and Emerson Hyndman being replaced as it brought a new boost of energy and pace down the left side for the remainder of the game.

Playoff Franco once again showed how capable of a player he is in big moments as we all saw in last years playoff run to winning the Cup. In a knockout match at the Benz, United came up victorious and now look on to prepare and devise a new strategy to take on the Philadelphia Union at home Thursday, October 24th. Look for a preview article of that playoff match in the coming days. VAMOS UNITED!!!

Stay with ATLSportsHQ all season long for the best ATLUTD coverage and all other things Atlanta Sports, for the fans, by the fans.

Edin Pelja |@Julio_Goat Twitter | @ATLSportsHQ Twitter/IG

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MLS Playoff Preview: Atlanta United vs. New England Revolution

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The MLS Playoffs have arrived! That means today at 1 PM inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium it will be rocking as the playoff intensity atmosphere of the 17’s will be in full force as second seed in the Eastern Conference and defending MLS Cup Champs Atlanta United get set to take on the visiting seventh seed New England Revolution.

These two teams met each other about two weeks ago in the final match of the MLS regular season in which Atlanta United took a 3-1 victory at home and after the recent international break the two squads set to face off each other again.

With the United side recharged and prepared for Saturday’s match after days of non-stop training the past week this team should be ready to go head on and open the doors quickly with frequent counter attacks and immediately putting pressure on the Revolution’s defense. If United can get a head start and find the back of the net early on, then the momentum change will be in their favor as early goals can make set the tempo for the rest of the match which is very important. From there, the plan should remain the same and if we can outscore the Revolution by a 2 or 3-0 lead at the half, then Atlanta should be set for a much more comfortable second half although we have see in the past these leads can turnaround and come back to bite you in the last minute so the teams focus and awareness needs to be alert at all times.

Unfortunately, Atlanta’s best center back this year Miles Robinson will be unavailable for the playoff match as he is out with an injury he suffered while away with the U.S. Men’s National Team. With that hampering some of De Boer’s plans defensively, we will likely see Michael Parkhurst get put in the Starting XI as the captain announced this will be his final season of playing professional soccer. Florentin Pogba is also an option, but he likely will not start or even play as he was away with his National Team of Guinea and missed most of the clubs training in the past week or so. Expect Atlanta United to go for a 3-4-2-1 or 3-5-2 formation as those are the two they have used frequently during the course of the regular season.

With the match just hours away from kick-off we expect another great performance at the Benz by our beloved 5-Stripes and a fantastic showing of support from the 17’s in the stands in what should be an exciting and electrifying single elimination playoff match, lets go get a victory boys!!! VAMOS UNITED!!!

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Match Recap: Atlanta United defeat the New England Revolution in final match of the regular season.

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In Atlanta United’s final match of the regular season under an open roof vs. the New England Revolution at Mercedes-Benz Stadium the 5-Stripes put on a show for the fans in a 3-1 victory filled with playoff implications and a possible rematch between these two opponents in the future during the MLS playoffs. Atlanta came into the match tied in 2nd place with the Philadelphia Union (55 points) and New England in 7th place. A win would seal United’s place in 2nd over the Union and that is exactly what went down at the Benz on Sunday.

Atlanta United found the opener early on in the 3rd minute with Darlington Nagbe finding the opener off an assist from Julian Gressel, he would go on to have a huge day later on. Not long though later in about 5 minutes the Revolution would equalize off a goal from Christian Penilla, making the result all even at 1-1.

In the second United would get off to another great start early with the king himself making his return to the starting lineup as he scored his 27th goal of the season off another assist from Julian Gressel and giving Atlanta back the lead in the 49th minute. Less than 10 minutes later Julian himself would find the back of the net with a rocket volley off the post, doubling United’s lead to 3-1. Without question or debate Julian Gressel was Man of the Match as he took part in all 3 of Atlanta United’s goals in the victory over New England. Michael Parkhurst would later come on for Julian Gressel and would receive a loud standing ovation from the 17’s fans, a great way to close out the match as Parkhurst announced this would be his last season of his career, Thank You Captain! Atlanta would go on to win by a final result of 3-1 and finishing 2nd place in the Eastern Conference Standings.

Atlanta United’s next match will be in two weeks as they face off in a rematch vs. New England at the Benz in the first round of the MLS playoffs. VAMOS UNITED!

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With Wednesday’s Win on the road in Cincy, Atlanta look to rattle the San Jose Earthquakes at the Benz on Saturday.

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Let’s flashback to Wednesday night when Atlanta United traveled up North to Cincy to take on the newest and worst team in MLS this season, F.C. Cincinnati. United were looking to bounce back in this away match after their disappointing loss at home to the Crew to keep their hopes alive of finishing in the top spot of the Eastern Conference Standings. This match was a must win for the 5-Stripes to keep up pace with the two teams standing in their way ahead of them, the Philadelphia Union in 2nd place and NYCFC in 1st place. Finishing 1st in the East would guarantee home field advantage throughout the playoffs and a first round bye. At home, United are almost unbeatable with the rowdy 17’s playing a factor in the role of being the 12th man with their non-stop 90 minute loud support with various chants and songs developed by the a variety of United Supporters Groups. Like we all saw last year in the playoffs, nobody wants to come down here and play in Atlanta as every team was dominated against from the first match vs. NYCFC, then those annoying Red Bulls and finally in the MLS Cup Final against Portland, anyway back to the match recap.

The first half was basically a struggle to stay awake kind of half with minimal chances being created by both sides and mostly being a battle of possession for almost the entire first 45 minute of the first half. Gressel had two great chances but both missed the target and Guzan made a huge save on the line off a header from Van der Werff to keep the score at 0-0 heading into the lockeroom. This all would change in the second half when Josef Martinez would score a pair of goals within just 6 minutes! The fisrt one would come in the 59th minute when Pity Martinez played a perfect through ball towards Josef leaving him one on one with the goalie and just like he does best, he finished the shot with a powerful finish past the GK, making it 1-0 for the good guys. In the 65th minute, Josef would double United’s lead with an excellent curling finish with his left foot into the back of the net, his goal made the #1 spot on SportsCenter’s Top 10 on Thursday and keeps himself within distance of capturing the golden boot for a second straight season. Right now, Carlos Vela leads the way with 28 goals and Josef Martinez and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are tied with 26, this race is tight and far from being over.

Atlanta United’s next upcoming match will be on Saturday, September 21st at home vs. San Jose Earthquakes in what should be a good matchup between two teams in the mix for high playoff positions in their respectable conferences. In just only two of their previous fixtures in the past two seasons both games have combined for 13 goals! United won the first match back in 2017 at Bobby Dodd by a 4-2 result and then in the second fixture last season who could forget that epic late night comeback by Atlanta in San Jose to overturn a 3-1 deficit and win the game in the last seconds of stoppage time by a final result of 4-3, glad I stayed up for that one. Atlanta United sit in 3rd place with 51 points, one behind the Philadelphia Union with 52 points in 2nd place and six behind NYCFC with 57 points in 1st place while San Jose sit in 6th place with 44 points fighting for one of the final playoff spots with other teams like F.C. Dallas and the Portland Timbers who are not far behind them in the Western Conference Standings. Saturday’s fixture should be an intense and fast paced one with both teams having something to play for as the regular season is coming to a close, who knows we might get another high scoring thriller, just with as having more goals then them. VAMOS UNITED!

The match between Atlanta United and San Jose Earthquakes will be on Saturday, September 21st at Mercedes-Benz Stadium with expected kickoff around 3:30 and will be live on the Univision Network.

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Edin Pelja |@Julio_Goat Twitter | @ATLSportsHQ Twitter/IG

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United against the Crew: Race for 1st in the East heats up as Atlanta look to continue winning ways at home.

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gwinnettdailypost.com

After being off for one week due to an international break, Atlanta United are back in action at home vs. the Columbus Crew.  A lot has changed in the Eastern Conference Standings since United’s last game back on August 31st in a 3-1 loss to the Philadelphia Union. Since then Atlanta United have slipped to third place in the Eastern Conference Table after that loss and NYCFC have jumped up to first with winning numerous matches and having two games in hand over Atlanta and Philadelphia in that time span. In first place NYCFC have 54 points and have played 29 games, the Union sit in second with 51 points and 29 games played as well and United are in third with 48 points and 28 games played.

Atlanta still have a great chance to still finish 1st place, United’s focus should just be on winning their games and not relying on other teams to help them because since United are the defending MLS Cup Champs, nobody will help you out it’s just you versus everyone else.

Atlanta United should be coming off this short break prepared and rejuvenated as most players had breaks from playing with their international team like Josef Martinez and with daily training and focusing on improving their play the goal is simple for Saturday night to go out and dominate the Crew who have been all but good this season. Defender Miles Robinson is coming off his first appearance and call up with the U.S. Men’s National Team. Robinson played about 30 minutes in the second half in the U.S.’s embarrasing 3-0 loss to Mexico, but overall Robinson played well and he’s been one of the best MLS Centerbacks this year by far and has helped United a lot defensively helping earn clean sheets and making one on one tackles and sprints to prevent goal scoring opportunities. With United’s constant rotating defensive line it surely helps to have a solid guy like him back there holding down the fort along with LGP and Guzan in goal.

In injury news, Ezequiel Barco is out with week to week muscle injury around his knee which he suffered in Atlanta’s victory over Minnesota in the U.S. Open Cup Final. Atlanta United can clinch a playoff berth with a win vs. Columbus Crew tonight at Mercedes Benz Stadium. Atlanta has six games remaining in the season left with 3 matches at home and 3 on the road. United can take a maximum of 18 points if they win the remainder of all of their MLS games. Mark your calendars Five Stripe fans for September 25th as Atlanta heads up to the Bronx and take on NYCFC at Yankee Stadium, that will likely be the decider for 1st place in the East, but right now the focus is on tonight’s match vs. Columbus and the obvious goal of getting a victory in front of the Five Stripe faithful. VAMOS UNITED!!!

Atlanta United vs. Columbus Crew will be live on Fox Sports Southeast and ESPN+ with expected kickoff to be at 7:00.

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U.S. Open Cup Final Preview: Atlanta United look to capture another trophy in less than 2 weeks.

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After Friday nights victory down in Disneyland Atlanta United return back home to face against opponents Minnesota United in the U.S. Open Cup Final at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Tuesday, August 27th. The team looks to achieve yet another cup trophy after taking down Mexican giants Club America in the Campeones Cup Final by a final result of 3-2 just less than two weeks earlier. With the squad so far having a very successful month of August, they look to cap off their U.S. Open Cup Tournament run with a win on Tuesday. For the most part, Atlanta has had Minnesota’s number since both teams played their first inaugural seasons in 2017, 3 victories for Atlanta and 1 for Minnesota. Atlanta has defeated Charleston, Columbus, Saint Louis and Orlando to make it through to the final of the cup.

Expect Head Coach Frank De Boer to roll out a similar starting eleven to what we saw on Friday, still some questions as to if defender Franco Escobar will return and how many minutes some players will play due to the very tight schedule over the past couple of weeks and short time for rest and recovery, but otherwise the players should be focused and prepared no matter the situation to play especially in a very important match like this where United can add another trophy to the trophy cabinet. Plus, United have depth on the bench with experienced defender Michael Parkhurst, midfielders Mo Adams and Emerson Hyndman and forward Tito Villalba to be ready when the time comes for a substitution. Head Coach De Boer also likes to rotate the lineup here and there as we have seen throughout most of the season mainly with a few positions like in Midfield with Larentowicz and Remedi rotating the starting position at central and defensive midfield, occasionally also putting Hyndman in lineup as well. Justin Meram and Dion Pereira also switch every other game in the starting position at Left Midfield or depending on who’s having more impact on the team, one might get preferred over the other.

Throughout this season the defense has been rotated a lot whether it has been the player or the formation. Florentin Pogba and Franco Escobar mainly play at left-Back or left-Wing Back although given Escobar is naturally more suited at right back he can play both. Julian Gressel sits on the right side switching the roles in between of playing right midfielder, right wing back and even right back sometimes. Our wing backs do a lot of work running up and down the field offensively and defensively and it is key how they perform as it effects in a strategic way the way the rest of the team plays and how long they can physically and mentally play against some of the best wingers in the league.

LGP and Robinson will be holding down the fort at center back with Guzan likely to be in goal (Don’t be suprised to see if FDB starts Kann like he did in Campeones Cup). Nagbe who has played exceptionally well lately will likely start in midfield and the big three of Pity Martinez, Ezequiel Barco and Josef Martinez will all likely start together as the attackers. A huge match awaits against a challenging opponent on Tuesday, we have been in this position and situation before so this is nothing new to us and we will do whatever it takes to get our hands on more silverware. VAMOS UNITED!!!

The U.S. Open Cup Final will between Atlanta United and Minnesota United will be on Tuesday, August 27th at Mercedes-Benz Stadium and live on ESPN+ at 8 PM.

Stay with ATLSportsHQ all season long for the best ATLUTD coverage and all other things Atlanta Sports, for the fans, by the fans.

Edin Pelja |@Julio_Goat Twitter | @ATLSportsHQ Twitter/IG

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