Date: Tuesday, September 27th
Time: 7:00 p.m. Eastern, 6:00 p.m. Central, 4:00 p.m. Pacific, 11:00 p.m. UTC
Venue: Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Atlanta, Ga.)
Television: CSN Philadelphia, FOX Sports South, FOX Sports Tennessee
The Union and Atlanta have faced off once before, resulting in a 2-2 draw at Talen Energy Stadium.
What Atlanta will look like
The good news for Philadelphia Union fans is that Atlanta will be without Paraguayan striker Miguel Almirón, who will miss the next three weeks or so with a hamstring injury. The bad news is that just about everyone else is healthy and will be able to be selected. Former Tijuana left back Greg Garza is still listed as questionable, and would be a good add for an Atlanta side that played the late game on Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Josef Martinez is still healthy, and has 17 goals this season, currently trailing David Villa by three in the MLS Golden Boot race. It’s also worth noting that Atlanta is on a six game unbeaten streak and has never lost at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, with their only loss in Atlanta coming in their first ever game against the New York Red Bulls.
What Philadelphia will look like
The Union should be as close to a clean bill of health as they’ve been in a while, with Fabian Herbers joining Maurice Edu, Aaron Jones, Ilsinho, and Josh Yaro on the questionable list. They’ll have a slight advantage over Atlanta having almost a full day’s rest over the home side as well as some momentum after upsetting the Chicago Fire at home. CJ Sapong needs one more goal to surpass Sebastien Le Toux as the Philadelphia Union’s single-season goal scoring leader, and if the Union plays as well as they did on Saturday there’s no reason to believe he won’t. Chris Pontius also scored his first two goals of the season in the win, which put the Union on a four game unbeaten streak.
The Union’s abandonment of the 4-2-3-1 in favor of a 4-3-2-1 with central defensive midfielder Warren Creavalle on instead of either Roland Alberg or Ilsinho at the 10 has also paid dividends lately. It has allowed the Union to create more chances going forward simply by not allowing themselves to get pinned down in their own end and often times stopping counterattacks before they hit the second or third man on the break.
What to expect
The Union are catching Atlanta at the perfect moment - midweek, on short rest, and trying to deal with the loss of Almirón. It will not be an easy task, but the Union have surprised us before. Perhaps there’s a few more surprises left in them this season.