Atlanta United will travel north to take on the New England Revolution on Saturday afternoon as both teams contend for valuable points to climb back into the Eastern Conference playoff race with time running out.
New England (9-12-11, 38 points) dropped its third straight game with a 1-0 home loss to CF Montreal, with Alistair Johnston scoring the only goal in the 72nd minute. The third straight loss marks only the first time that head coach Bruce Arena in his MLS career has lost three or more games in a row twice in a single season.
"We had our chances," Arena said after the game. "That game, that was going to be a 1-0 game. I told our team that at halftime. We had to beat a team, to make the play, and we didn't. We had a couple chances in the first half, probably the better chances. And second half, I'd ignore the last 15 minutes because we were chasing the game and they really got at us. But we had our chances, but on the night, give them credit. They made the plays that made a difference."
With only two games left in the regular season, the Revolution haven't been officially eliminated from contention but their chances are slim.
Their offense has been bleak in the past three games, scoring no more than one goal. They need a player like Carles Gil to step up. He has seven goals, tied for the team lead with Adam Buksa -- who transferred from the team after playing 10 games -- and Gustavo Bou, who has only played in 17 games.
Atlanta (10-12-10, 40 points) stretched its unbeaten streak to three with a scoreless draw at home against the Philadelphia Union on Sept. 17. That draw leaves the club only two points from Inter Miami and the Columbus Crew for the final playoff spot from the East, but Atlanta has played one more game than both.
"Yes, we're satisfied," Atlanta head coach Gonzalo Pineda said. "I think it's been two weeks of very good sessions. We've been working on things that we think can grow the team in this last part of the season, and I'm very happy with the outcome."
The draw against the Union marked Atlanta's second straight shutout, in large part due to goalkeeper Raul Gudino. In four games this season, he's only allowed four goals. A strong end to the season bodes well for the future of the 26-year-old.
--Field Level Media