Atlanta United vs DC United | 2018 MLS Match Preview and Prediction

Major League Soccer: Atlanta United vs DC United

Mercedes-Benz Stadium – Sunday, March 11th 2018 – 15:00 ET (19:00 GMT)

Live on Sky Sports Football (UK)

Atlanta United vs DC United: Preview

Sunday evening sees Atlanta United lineup at Mercedes-Benz Stadium for their first home game of the season as they welcome fellow Eastern Conference side DC United.

2018 started with a bang for Atlanta, although not the one they wanted. They were on the receiving end of a hammering from Houston. That 4-0 away loss was a shock to the rest of MLS as they conceded three goals in the first half hour.

A response is needed here. ‘Tata’ Martino’s side know they have to remind everyone what they are capable of. They enjoyed a very promising debut season last year and performed very well at home. So Atlanta need to make it their business to send out a message of their own here.

Standing in the way of that is DC United. They drew their season opener against Orlando so will be looking to be unbeaten at the very least after week two.

The two sides met three times last season and the record books look good for DC, who won all three. Keeping that winning run going is not going to be easy though.

Ben Olsen’s side did not travel overly well in 2017. They have failed to win in 12 of their last 13 on the road and face an Atlanta side who scored 48 goals at home last year, the most in an MLS debut campaign since 2010.

The tie also marks the return of Yamil Asad. The former Atlanta player has described returning to face his previous employers as a strange feeling. He showed the impact he can make on opening weekend, netting DC’s first goal of the 2018 campaign – just as he did for Atlanta last season.

Atlanta United vs DC United: Team News

Atlanta United

❌ Suspensions: None

❓ Doubts: Leandro Gonzalez (hip)

🚑 Out: Ezequiel Barco (right quad strain) and Jon Gallagher (ankle)

DC United

❌ Suspensions: None

❓ Doubts: None

🚑 Out: Russell Canouse (knee) and Taylor Kemp (groin)

Atlanta United vs DC United: Key Stats

Atlanta United’s MLS form: L

DC United’s MLS form: D

Key stat: DC United have won all three of the previous meetings between the sides.

Atlanta United vs DC United: Preview

Atlanta United 2-1 DC United – This should be a game that Atlanta go into with the belief they can win. Their confidence will have been rocked with the magnitude of that defeat last weekend but they cannot let that stop them playing the way they know they can. DC United will be looking at this one as a winnable game – but considering their inconsistency on the road weighed up against Atlanta’s home form, winning it is going to be a big ask.

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MLS debutants run riot on opening weekend

The opening weekend of MLS has set the tone for the rest of the season. There was plenty of drama with goals, video assistant referees, red cards and shock results. However, one astonishing stat that has come from week one was from MLS debutants.

A total of 26 goals were scored across the ten games with nine of those coming from debutants – which equates to 35% of the goals scored on opening weekend.

What makes it all the more impressive is that all nine goal scorers came from different clubs, adding to the excitement.

WATCH 📹 – Take a look at all nine debutant goals from week one

MLS Preview and Prediction: Portland Timbers vs Houston Dynamo

Competition: Major League Soccer – Portland Timbers vs. Houston Dynamo

Venue: Providence Park – Saturday, June 21 – 22:30 ET (Sunday, June 22 – 02:30 BST)

Match Odds: Portland Timbers 4/6 – Draw 11/4 – Houston Dynamo 4/1

Match Preview

Portland Timbers host Houston Dynamo on Saturday, who visit Oregon for the second meeting between the two sides this season.

The Timbers won their third game on the bounce in their last regular season game, beating New England Revolution 2-0. This is the first time Timbers have achieved the feat in their history.

These victories have seen the Timbers rise up the table and into fourth place in the Western Conference and a win could see them into third if results go their way.

Fanendo Adi got both the goals over New England taking his tally to six for the season. In Adi they have a striker full of confidence who seems to be a constant threat. He has netted four more than their second highest scorer Nat Borchers.

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Portland have been solid at home this season, winning three, drawing three and having lost just once at Providence Park.

Houston Dynamo are looking to get successive wins after their 4-2 demolition of New York Red Bulls last time out.

Will Bruin is in good form after a slow start and he has now netted seven goals this season, including two goals against Portland Timbers in the reverse fixture.

Owen Coyle’s men have struggled away from home, winning just one at Toronto, and their poor away form could decide whether the Dynamo can reach the playoff positions or miss out come the end of the campaign.

The reverse fixture saw Houston Dynamo win 3-1 over Portland Timbers back in May, the goals came from Will Bruin, who bagged a brace, and one from Giles Barnes. Portland’s goal came from Fanendo Adi.

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Team News

Portland Timbers have doubts over Diego Valeri (ankle), while Ben Zemanski is still sidelined (knee).

Houston Dynamo will be without Brad Davies and Bonieck Garcia as Owen Coyle mentioned in a press conference earlier this week.

Key Points

Portland Timbers last five in MLS: L/L/W/W/W

Houston Dynamo last five in MLS: W/W/L/D/W

Key Stat: Portland Timbers have only beaten Houston Dynamo once in six attempts.

Key Player: Will Bruin – The Houston Dynamo forward will look to get his fifth goal in three games if he can hit the back of the net this weekend. Bruin will be trusted with unlocking the opposition defence, which he has done twice already this season.

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Score Prediction 

Portland Timbers 2-1 Houston Dynamo – Portland Timbers will just edge it with the single goal being the difference. Both teams have excellent strikers who know how to score but you can’t bet against Portland’s three game unbeaten run.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Seattle Sounders vs FC Dallas

Competition: Major League Soccer – Seattle Sounders vs. FC Dallas

Venue: CenturyLink Field – Saturday, June 13 – 22:00 ET (Sunday, June 14 – 02:30 BST)

Match Odds: Seattle Sounders 11/10 – Draw 5/2 – FC Dallas 3/1

Match Preview

Seattle Sounders take on FC Dallas at CenturyLink Field looking to get back to winning ways following their defeat last week to Sporting Kansas City. While Dallas are without a win in four and also need to try and find three points on Saturday night.

The Sounders are at the top of the Western Conference and that’s no surprise given their squad strength. They have already picked up an impressive eight wins this season and look in good shape to retain their MLS Supporters’ Shield come the end of the regular season.

Seattle have two games in hand over second placed Vancouver Whitecaps with both tied on 26 points after 14 weeks.

Photo: Denise McCooey

Photo: Denise McCooey

Plus, they have only lost once at home this season and that was their home opener against San Jose Earthquakes when they lost 3-2.

Only once have Seattle Sounders not scored at home and that was in the 0-0 draw with Sporting Kansas City so they will be the more confident of the two sides heading into Saturday’s clash.

FC Dallas face their fourth straight away game in Seattle, having failed to pick up a win in their last three road trips.

In those three away games they have scored just the one and conceded six goals.

Blas Perez has been away on international duty with Panama, depleting them of the goals that he gifted them earlier this season, while Fabian Castillo has also been missing as a result of an injury and that has seen the Texan side’s form dip.

A win for FC Dallas would put them right back on track for a top place finish in the Western and so it’s a huge game for both sides.

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The reverse fixture this season saw FC Dallas and Seattle Sounders play out a 0-0 draw at Toyota Park on March 29.

Team News

Seattle Sounders have two injury worries with Chad Barrett out with hamstring troubles and Obafemi Martins had nose surgery but could play in a mask. Marco Pappa is still away on international duty with Guatemala. Clint Dempsey is expected to return to the starting lineup.

FC Dallas have plenty of players away on international duty with Tesho Akindele, Kellyn Acosta, Je-Vaughn Watson, Atiba Harris and Moises Hernandez all out. Fabian Castillo could return to the starting lineup after returning from injury last week.

Key Points

Seattle Sounders’ last five: W/D/W/W/L

FC Dallas’ last five: W/D/L/L/D

Key Stat: The last three matches between these two have ended in a draw.

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Key Player: Dan Kennedy – The FC Dallas goalkeeper could have a busy day ahead of him with plenty of Seattle players returning back from international duty that could be laying assault on the FC Dallas goal, so he will need to be at his best.

Score Prediction

Seattle Sounders 0-0 FC Dallas – Both teams have players returning from international duty. Seattle Sounders could be light up front with injuries to Barrett and Martins potentially leaving them weak. FC Dallas could sneak it but without so many players, it looks likely that both teams will struggle to edge what should be a tight contest.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Montreal Impact vs Vancouver Whitecaps

Competition: Major League Soccer – Montreal Impact vs. Vancouver Whitecaps

Venue: Stade Saputo – Wednesday, June 3 – 20:00 ET (01:00 BST)

Match Odds: Montreal Impact 7/5 – Draw 23/10 – Vancouver Whitecaps 19/10

Match Preview

Stade Saputo plays host to the Vancouver Whitecaps on Wednesday night as Montreal Impact welcome them to this all-Canadian clash.

Montreal come into the game off the back of a 3-0 loss to Chicago Fire at the weekend and will want to return to winning ways on Wednesday night in front of their own fans.

After winning two on the bounce against FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake, the Impact were set back as the Fire took all three points.

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Sitting in ninth in the Eastern Conference at the moment, Montreal will want to be pushing for a playoff spot and despite being written off early on, they pose a threat for other challengers.

They need to pick up points at home and will see Wednesday’s game as a winnable one.

Montreal Impact’s 2015 MLS record: P9 – W2 – D2 – L4

Vancouver have endured an inconsistent patch after a very impressive start to 2015. So much of an good start that they were being tipped for a Supporters Shield challenge, but that has faded a little in recent weeks.

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Much of their drop in recent form is down to the drought in front of goal for star striker Octavio Rivero, as the Uruguayan has scored just once in his last eight appearances.

Vancouver Whitecaps’ 2015 MLS record: P14 – W7 – D2 – L5

Vancouver do remain favourites, however, despite their lack of form. But Montreal pose a huge threat and do not be surprised if the Impact win on Wednesday in this intriguing Canadian battle.

Team News

Montreal Impact look set to be short of up to ten players this week. With Justin Mapp, Adrian Lopez, Cameron Porter, Kenny Cooper, Dominic Oduro, Hassoun Camara, Victor Cabrera and Eric Miller all expected to miss the tie. Dilly Duka and Andres Romero are both doubts for the game, while Ambroise Oyongo is away with the Cameroon team.

Vancouver Whitecaps have Andre Lewis, Sam Adekugbe and Marco Bustos reportedly missing. Octavio Rivero is expected to keep his place up front despite a lack of form in front of goal. Deybi Flores and Darren Mattocks are both away on international duty this week.

Key Points

Montreal Impact’s last five: L/L/W/W/L

Vancouver Whitecaps’ last five: D/W/L/L/W

Key Stat: Montreal have never scored against the Vancouver Whitecaps in Major League Soccer.

Key Player: David Ousted – The Whitecaps ‘keeper will have to be at his best to keep the Impact out yet again.

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Score Prediction

Montreal Impact 0-1 Vancouver Whitecaps – Vancouver are the better side and should just edge this one, though expect a strong fight from Montreal. It could be a low scoring affair as both teams will want to remain tight at the back.

Orlando City midfielder branded as ‘invaluable’ by Adrian Heath

Orlando City SC midfielder Eric Avila has been labelled by head coach Adrian Heath as invaluable to the injury-hit Major League Soccer Expansion Franchise.

The former FC Dallas, Toronto FC and Chivas USA star is currently on loan with Orlando City from Santos Laguna in Liga MX and has enjoyed a spell in the side recently due to the injury crisis at the club.

Adrian Heath has been quick to highlight Avila’s importance to the team: “The great thing about Eric (Avila) is that he can play in any position in midfield, and even at right-back, so he has great versatility. In a league with a salary cap, it is invaluable,” Heath told MLSsoccer.com.

“The other great thing about him is that he is a really intelligent footballer. You never need to tell him anything more than once, so I feel confident in moving him around the formation.”

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Avila seems to be enjoying his time in the side too, after scoring in the 4-0 demolition of LA Galaxy recently.

“I honestly thought I was coming in here for more of a defensive role. However, the way things have worked out, it has been really good for me. I loved the way the team played when I watched on film of them and I really enjoyed playing in this style, so having a more advanced role actually plays to my strengths.”

Avila looks set to carry on as a key player to Orlando’s campaign as they look to cement a playoff place.

How valuable is Eric Avila to Orlando City’s playoff hopes?

MLS Preview and Prediction: Colorado Rapids vs Portland Timbers

Competition: Major League Soccer – Colorado Rapids vs. Portland Timbers 

Venue: Sporting Dick’s Goods Park – Saturday, May 30 – 21:00 ET (02:00 BST)

Match Odds: Colorado 11/8 – Draw 11/5 – Portland 2/1

Match Preview

Colorado Rapids play host to the Portland Timbers as both enter the weekend off the back of a midweek match. However, they endured different results as the Rapids lost 1-0 away to the Seattle Sounders and the Timbers were impressive in a 1-0 home win against DC United.

Colorado Rapids will have home comforts to call on, but have failed to be at all convincing thus far, and have a horrible run of only two wins from their last 26 MLS matches.

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Lying bottom of the Western Conference currently, the Rapids have drawn an incredible seven of their 12 matches and are in desperate need of a win here.

Colorado Rapids’ record this season: P12 – W2 – D7 – L3

Portland Timbers, as mentioned before, come into this as the more in-form side after their midweek victory over DC United.

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The victory leaves them just two points off the playoffs but inconsistency is hindering their potential because on paper their squad should easily be making a playoff place.

Portland Timbers’ record this season: P13 – W4 – D4 – L5

Yet to register back-to-back wins, the Timbers could change their fortunes with a win on Saturday night and some may say that they need to, especially with the Rapids just three points behind.

Team News

Colorado Rapids will be without Marcelo Sarvas, Marlon Hairston and Nick LaBrocca who all miss out through injury. Gabriel Torres could play on the right again as Kevin Doyle is expected to play in the number 10 role, with new signing Luis Solignac expected to play as the lone striker.

Portland look set to recall three starters to the side as they were rested for the DC game. Nat Borchers, Fanendo Adi and Jack Jewsbury are all expected to return. Ben Zemanski and Diego Valeri are reportedly out and will miss the tie, while Will Johnson could start his second game in succession after returning from a broken leg in the midweek win.

Key Points

Colorado Rapids’ last five: D/D/D/W/L

Portland Timbers’ last five: D/W/L/L/W

Key Stat: Portland Timbers have never won away from home against the Colorado Rapids.

Key Player: Darlington Nagbe – Possibly the most frustrating player in MLS, Nagbe can produce magic at times, but failing to deliver regularly leaves many disappointed. He is due a big game and could have it here.

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Score Prediction

Colorado Rapids 1-2 Portland Timbers – The penny may have dropped with the Timbers and they will hope to produce some displays that can fire them into the playoffs. The Rapids have been steady but are not winning enough and may fall short here.

Returning Timbers star thrilled with midweek win over DC

Portland Timbers star Will Johnson was left satisfied with their 1-0 win over DC United on Wednesday night. The Portland star returned after a long time out injured with a broken leg and is now looking to push on following Wednesday’s victory.

Johnson was quick to point out his satisfaction that the Timbers picked up the three points and was even more happy to be back: “Yeah that part was awesome, really really good,” Johnson told The Oregonian.

“I wasn’t always sure it was going to happen. This was a really big game for us, and I tried to play down that it was about me.”

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Johnson was quick to point out that the result was more important than his comeback, but you can’t help but realise that Johnson’s presence directly affected the result. After a long time out, Johnson is back and ready to kick on.

“There’s no setbacks, no muscle injuries, no nothing like that. It’s just wear and tear at this point.”

The win ended a run of only one in five and they are now just two points off the playoffs, a position Johnson thinks is vital.

“Huge, the only thing that matters tonight is not me, it’s three points for this club, we needed it badly to get going in the right direction quickly. We spoke a lot about urgency this week.”

Can Portland Timbers finally find form now that Will Johnson has returned?

Former Chelsea and Manchester City star free to complete MLS move

Former Chelsea and Manchester City star Shaun Wright-Phillips is free to join up with brother Bradley Wright-Phillips at New York Red Bulls following his release at Queens Park Rangers.

Wright-Phillips has endured a torrid time at QPR and only played 128 minutes in the Premier League this season; only managing one start.

As he heads towards the twilight years of his career, SWP may want to join his brother at the Red Bulls. They are currently in search for a natural winger to replace Thierry Henry on the left flank, after the Arsenal legend retired at the end of the 2014 MLS season.

Bradley Wright-Phillips has been sensational since moving to the States in 2013 and has an incredible goalscoring record of 33 goals in just 48 games for the Red Bulls.

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BWP, holder of the MLS Golden Boot award, has started the current season in form, already netting five goals in 11 appearances.

The addition of SWP would provide balance to the side as well as frightening pace on both flanks, with Lloyd Sam already playing from the right.

Having already played for top clubs in England like Manchester City, Chelsea and QPR; the winger has more than enough pedigree to perform in MLS.

Would Shaun Wright-Phillips benefit from a move to Major League Soccer?

MLS Preview and Prediction: Portland Timbers vs DC United

Competition: Major League Soccer – Portland Timbers vs. DC United 

Venue: Providence Park – Wednesday, May 27 – 22:30 ET (03:30 BST)

Match Odds: Portland Timbers 8/11 – Draw 5/2 – DC United 4/1

Match Preview

Portland Timbers welcome MLS Supporters’ Shield leaders DC United to Providence Park on Wednesday night as they look to move away from the bottom of the Western Conference standings.

Portland have had a mediocre start to 2015 in Major League Soccer and have only won one of their last five, and with only one win at home all season, the Timbers are struggling to find a run of form.

However, Portland have won their last two against DC and will want to make it three in a row in Wednesday night’s meeting.

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Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Toronto was Portland’s second on the bounce and they need to try and get points from this one before the weekend’s trip to Colorado.

Portland Timbers’ record this season: P12 – W3 – D4 – L5

DC United have been the opposite of Portland and have been impressively resolute to remain at the top of the Eastern Conference and Supporters’ Shield standings after 12 weeks.

Only losing once in their last ten, DC have been good value for their current position, and integral to their success is their defensive performances as they have only conceded ten in their 12 matches so far.

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However, their away form has been somewhat a hindrance to their potential as their last win away from RFK Stadium came in April.

DC United’s record this season: P12 – W6 – D4 – L2

They will look to leave Providence Park with maximum points on Wednesday night ahead of the weekend clash with Philadelphia Union at home.

Team News

Portland Timbers are without Ben Zemanski, who is still out with a knee injury, while Will Johnson and Diego Valeri are both doubts as they are still carrying minor injuries. Gaston Fernandez is expected to deputise for Valeri should he miss out with an ankle injury picked up in Saturday’s loss to Toronto.

DC United are without Eddie Johnson, Fabian Espindola, Collin Martin, Luis Silva and Nick DeLeon all though injury. Jairo Arrieta should start after scoring from the bench against New England Revolution. However, Ben Olsen could revert back to 4-4-2 and start Chris Pontius and Conor Doyle upfront as he will look to keep his squad fresh with another game this weekend.

Key Points

Portland’s last five: L/D/W/L/L

DC’s last five: W/D/W/L/D

Key Stat: Portland have not lost to DC United since May 2011 in a 3-2 loss at home.

Key Player: Bill Hamid – USMNT ‘keeper Hamid is crucial to DC’s MLS Cup hopes and will be influential in keeping out Portland on Wednesday night.

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Score Prediction

Portland Timbers 0-1 DC United – DC are too strong to lose to Portland side struggling for form, and the Timbers will find it hard to break them down in what should be a tight affair.