An Eastern Conference showdown is on the cards as Nashville SC travel down south to Mercedes-Benz Stadium to take on Atlanta United in MLS Matchday 28.
The Five Stripes are coming off a deserved 2-0 victory over Seattle Sounders, where a pair of headed goals from Giorgos Giakoumakis propelled head coach Gonzalo Pineda’s side to a huge three points. Thiago Almada and Brooks Lennon both picked up assists, and the near three weeks of rest Atlanta had following their Leagues Cup exit served them well at Lumen Field.
The visitors endured one of the most, if not the most, heartbreaking nights in club history as they were edged by Inter Miami and Lionel Messi in the 2023 Leagues Cup final, 1-1 (10-9). The hunt for the first trophy in club history with Gary Smith at the helm continues, and Nashville will be eager to get the taste of defeat out of their mouths against Atlanta.
Atlanta won the first two meetings between the clubs, but since then, it’s been all Nashville. The Boys in Gold are riding a seven game unbeaten streak against the 2018 MLS Cup champions, winning four games during that stretch.
Both sides have collected 38 points in MLS in 2023, but Nashville are ahead on goal difference (+9 to Atlanta’s +5) and also have a game in hand.
Atlanta United vs Nashville SC H2H record ( Last Three Games )
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Forward Jamal Thiare, who the Five Stripes signed during the summer transfer window on a free transfer, is unavailable for selection as the club are still sorting out his work Visa situation.
Midfielder Ozzie Alonso, who came off the bench against the Sounders, will miss the game due to a leg injury. Alonso made his season debut back in June after recovering from an ACL injury that was sustained against DC United in April 2022.
Saba Lobzhanidze, another one of Atlanta’s summer signings who joined from Turkish top-flight side Fatih Karagumruk, looks set to make his debut off the bench as he began training with the team earlier this week.
Atlanta United predicted lineup vs Nashville SC (4-2-3-1): Guzan; Lennon, Robinson, Abram, Wiley; Muyumba, Rossetto; Wolff, Almada, Silva; Giakoumakis.
Two Nashville SC players will miss the game due to red card suspension: Fabrice ‘Fafa’ Picalt and Taylor Washington. Defender Walker Zimmerman is questionable with a lower leg injury, and if the 30-year-old is unable to suit up, it would be a big loss for the Boys in Gold.
An abdominal injury sees Jack Maher sidelined until later next month, while Nick DePuy won’t be back until near the end of the regular season in October due to an Achilles tendon injury.
Atlanta remain a formidable side at home despite their inconsistent showings in 2023. That could be amplified with the club opening up all levels (100, 200 and 300) at Mercedes-Benz Stadium that boasts a capacity of 71,000.
Nashville won’t want to dwell on the Leagues Cup disappointment, while Atlanta will be looking to start fast in front of what could be a huge turnout for the game. Even if Nashville are without a few key players, they still have Hany Mukhtar and the new Sam Surridge in the side going up against Atlanta’s shaky defense. It should be close, but Atlanta might have just enough at home to leapfrop Nashville in the East for the time being.
Prediction: Atlanta United 3-2 Nashville SC
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