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Behind Enemy Lines: Scouting Atlanta United

The expansion side has one of the better attacks in MLS.

MLS: Atlanta United FC at Sporting KC Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

FC Dallas heads to Atlanta for the first ever meeting between these two teams in a game that Dallas desperately needs to win.

Making the Playoffs

Both of these teams have some work to do if they want to make the postseason. Dallas and Atlanta sit in 6th in the Western and Eastern conference respectively. FC Dallas put in a sturdy performance to draw at home down a man against the Red Bulls. Atlanta managed a road point up a man, with a late goal good enough to draw the Union. Both teams are at what could be big turning points in their seasons and with both fighting to make the playoffs, this has the makings of an important match, that could give it’s winner some serious momentum and drown the loser.

Potential Lineup

Atlanta United is basically at full strength this weekend, with some questions around some second string players.

GK: Brad Guzan; LB: Greg Garza; CB: Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, Michael Parkhurst; RB: Anton Walkes; CM: Chris McCann, Jeff Larentowicz, Yamil Asad; RW: Hector Villalba; LW: Miguel Almiron; FW: Josef Martinez

Key Matchup

Greg Garza vs. Michael Barrios. Diaz return last Saturday showed how dangerous this team becomes with a maestro pulling the strings. He enables Barrios to be the threat he can be and against Garza there are some serious concerns. Garza is not renowned for his pace. If he struggles to contain barrios, then Diaz will give the little Colombian lots of opportunities to show his $2.5 million value. If Garza can contain Barrios it will go a long way to stifling Dallas struggling offense.

Three Things to Watch For

A Full Strength Team.

It’s been a while, but there is a serious chance that Dallas is able to play their best lineup this weekend No USMNT duties, no injuries. Dallas hasn’t been whole in months, and they only have a couple months left to get that team together. Will full strength finally turn the sinking ship around?

Doing Something in the First 20 minutes.

Dallas has shown well in the first 20 minutes of almost every match during the slump, but inevitably FCD’s pressure dies off, the other team comes into the game, and Dallas gives up a goal. If the Hoops can get a goal in that 20 minutes it’ll be just the thing to follow up last week’s finish.

Offensive Strength.

Atlanta has shown that they have a quality offense capable of picking teams apart. Almiron and Martinez are game-changers and will be tough to shut down. Lapses in concentration for Dallas’ defense are likely to be lethal and nothing will end this game quicker than a couple of back to back goals for Atlanta.