Major League Soccer: Atlanta United vs LA Galaxy
Mercedes-Benz Stadium – Wednesday, September 20 – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST)
Match Odds: Atlanta 4/9 – Draw 15/4 – LA Galaxy 5/1
Atlanta United vs LA Galaxy: Preview
The Five Stripes are in good form and have enjoyed a stellar debut season in Major League Soccer. They can move a step closer to confirming their playoff spot with a win here, while probably ending the Galaxy’s hopes in the process.
Atlanta have gone unbeaten through four games, scoring 15 goals in the process. Their move to the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium has proved seamless too. They’ve not lost at their new home and Wednesday’s match will be the fourth of six consecutive home games.
Victory on Wednesday would see Atlanta move ahead of Columbus Crew and into fourth place in the East. That would leave them on course to secure homefield advantage in the playoffs – something Tata Martino will be hoping to confirm.
The LA Galaxy team held a behind-closed-doors meeting after Saturday’s heavy defeat. That only happens when a team is in crisis. And make no mistake about it, the Galaxy are in a crisis. Jobs are on the line and players will be axed at the end of the campaign if they don’t improve.
Sigi Schmid’s job was to turn their fortunes around and get them into a playoff position come the end of the regular season. But he has not been able to do that, even with the expensive DP addition of Jonathan Dos Santos.
LA have gone 1-5-2 since Schmid took over the reigns. They are nine points outside the playoff spots in the West and don’t look like a team on the up.
Defeat to Atlanta on Wednesday night would essentially end the Galaxy’s season. It would leave them with a nine-point gap to make up over their final five games. But they still have to travel to Sporting KC, Houston and FC Dallas on the final day.
Atlanta United vs LA Galaxy: Team News
Atlanta United will welcome back centre-back Leandro Gonzalez Pirez after he served his one-game suspension. Zach Loyd is out for the season. Greg Garza is listed as questionable after missing Saturday’s match with a hamstring problem.
LA Galaxy will once again be able to call on Jermaine Jones after he served his suspension. He will expect to come into a side that could be drastically changed after Saturday’s crushing loss to Toronto. Robbie Rogers, Sebastian Lletget, Baggio Husidic and Pele Van Aanholt are all out for the season. Bradley Diallo left Sunday’s game in the first half with a hamstring injury and won’t feature here. Daniel Steres is also expected to miss out.
Atlanta United vs LA Galaxy: Key Points
Atlanta United’s last five: L/D/W/W/D
LA Galaxy’s last five: L/L/W/D/L
Key Stat: Atlanta have scored 13 goals in three games since moving to Mercedes-Benz Stadium. That’s the same amount as LA Galaxy have scored in their last 12 MLS outings in total.
Key Player: Josef Martinez – The Venezuelan striker is hot right now. He has scored back-to-back hat-tricks for Atlanta and has seven in his last three games. His treble against Orlando on Saturday took his season total to 16 in 14 matches. He’s only three goals off David Villa in the race for the Golden Boot and will hope to close that gap further with another strong display here.
— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) September 16, 2017
Atlanta United vs LA Galaxy: Prediction
Atlanta United 3-1 LA Galaxy – The Galaxy need to respond from Saturday’s humiliating 4-0 home loss. However, they couldn’t have really picked a worse place to have to go than Atlanta. The Five Stripes have been scoring for fun and should pick apart a Galaxy defence that can’t stop conceding. You would assume LA will show some spirit as they aim to impress Sigi Schmid enough to keep their jobs into next season. But this one looks like it should end in a home win, with Atlanta set to move up to fourth in the East.