Thu, 29 Jul 2021

Atlanta United brace for challenge from Union

Field Level Media
20 Jun 2021, 04:05 GMT+10

Atlanta United may be searching for a bit of revenge when they host the Philadelphia Union on Sunday afternoon in both teams' first match following the MLS international break.

Philadelphia defeated Atlanta 4-1 on aggregate in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals earlier this spring, a two-match series that included a 3-0 away win by the Union in the first leg.

Atlanta (2-1-4, 10 points) won its first two home matches in MLS play before squandering a two-goal lead in a 2-2 draw against Nashville SC on May 29.

Nashville's late comeback marred what was shaping up as Atlanta's best performance under first-year manager Gabriel Heinze.

"What we need to think is that until the end of the game there are chances for both sides," Heinze said. "It's true that the team was better for most of the game. But in those late moments we weren't calm and that's when football brings you back."

One difference for Philadelphia (4-2-2, 14 points) this time will be playing in a Mercedes-Benz Stadium that is open to full capacity.

The Union have played before fewer than 7,000 fans in all of their league matches this season, though the Champions League crowd in Atlanta was larger.

"They have talent and they're dangerous," Philadelphia coach Jim Curtin said this week. "In that building, it gets loud. It really does. It's a difficult environment, they have great fans, they get on you just the right amount in a nice, southern way, I guess you could say. It's a beautiful stadium, a hostile environment, and a good soccer team that doesn't lose very often there."

Atlanta forward Josef Martinez and Philadelphia midfielder Jose Andres Martinez will both miss Sunday's match as they continue duty with the Venezuela national team at Copa America.

Also for Atlanta, midfielder Matheus Rossetto (lower body) is out and winger Jurgen Damm (lower body) is questionable for Sunday's contest. Midfielder Mo Adams is questionable to make his season debut after undergoing sports hernia surgery in March.

--Field Level Media

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