Date: Saturday, August 26th
Time: 7:00 p.m. Eastern, 6:00 p.m. Central, 4:00 p.m. Pacific, 11:00 p.m. UTC
Venue: Talen Energy Stadium (Philadelphia, Pa.)
Referees: REF: Drew Fischer AR1: Phil Briere AR2: Gianni Facchini 4TH: Sorin Stoica VAR: Jair Marrufo
Television: CSN Philly, Fox Sports Southeast
Streaming: FOX Sports GO, fuboTV, MLS Live
All-time record: This will be the first time the clubs will have met in any competition.
What Philadelphia will look like
The Union looked utterly helpless against Toronto FC on Wednesday and will look to put in a more inspired performance at home against Atlanta. Andre Blake is back for the club, and none of the three goals let in against Toronto were on him.
The Union will most likely shuffle the deck a bit after the midweek game. Look for Giliano Wijnaldum to come in at left back in place of Fabinho, and Chris Pontius will probably get the startas well. It remains to be seen however if Pontius would replace Fafa Picault at his normal left wing spot or if it would be at right wing over Marcus Epps, who was the Union’s best player against TFC.
The 10 position will also be up for grabs between Ilsinho who was largely ineffectual against Toronto or Roland Alberg who has been largely ineffectual for most of the season. Adam Najem could also be a contender to get minutes at the 10 as well, as the rookie has played well in the minutes he’s been given so far.
What Atlanta will look like
Atlanta has been a buzzsaw lately, going undefeated in six straight before finally losing to a resurgent D.C. United team at RFK Stadium on Wednesday night. Hector Villalba has 10 goals in 23 games, while Miguel Almiron has 8 in 23 and Josef Martinez has an incredible 9 goals in just 10 games. Martinez is averaging a 1.18 goals per 90 minutes, which is absolutely bonkers.
As crazy as their offense has been, their defense has been as good if not better. Anchored by United States National Team defenders Greg Garza and Michael Parkhurst and goalkeeper Brad Guzan, Atlanta’s 30 goals conceded is third best in the league.
What to expect
It’s not a question of if the Union can beat Atlanta, but will they. Which Union team will show up at Talen Energy Stadium on Saturday - the one that soundly defeated FC Dallas a couple weeks back or the one that was manhandled by Montreal and Toronto? Atlanta’s Achilles’ heel has been playing on the road, where they’re just 4W 6L 4D and lost to D.C. United on a Parkhurst own goal. The Union will need to need to establish tempo and possession - something they were unable to do against TFC where they were below 40% possession on the night and managed just two shots on goal.