So, it’s still a little bonkers to me that Atlanta has an MLS team, because I grew up there and MLS never seemed like it was really in the cards. And now Atlanta is actually doing pretty well in its first season, while DCU has started 2017 a little bit on the struggle bus.
Unfortunately, we’re not optimistic that the Black-and-Red are about to get off that struggle bus.
In before the tragedy! Seriously though, with Steve Birnbaum questionable at best to return Sunday, and the back line being older and/or slow, even if Patrick Nyarko returns to help test the Atlanta mids and backline, basically Luciano Acosta is going to not have to get murdered in central midfield somehow. Perhaps Patrick Mullins returns and Jose Ortiz plays on a wing? I dunno. Either way, D.C. doesn't have the ponies for this race, which I think will end 3-1 Atlanta, with Mullins scoring in his return for the Black-and-Red, while Miguel Almiron, Kenwyne Jones and Yamil Asad scoring for the other Black-and-Red, or Red-and-Black, I dunno.
The way that both teams started off this season, this game could have been marked as a bloodbath. However, Atlanta United has cooled off somewhat and D.C. United has been playing better, though still not great, soccer. But the injuries right now on the defense are probably going to be too much for even Bill Hamid to contend with, and I think Atlanta will put at least two past him (through no fault of his own). 2-1 to the interlopers United, with Patrick Mullins pulling one back and hopefully getting back on track.
Donald Wine II
Atlanta United has cooled off some from their hot start but are still getting results. D.C. United has to set the tone early to quiet the sold out crowd. I think a Mullins goal does just that, in the 24th minute. Atlanta gets two back in the second half but an Ian Harkes goal in the 87th minute steals a result for the good guys. 2-2, and one point returns to D.C. along with some leftover Waffle House.
This one will all come down to how well the centerbacks and central midfield can take care of the ball and usher it out of D.C.'s defensive third into the attack. With Lucho Acosta on the field running the press, I think Los Capitalinos get a goal through Lloyd Sam off a forced mistake deep in Atlanta's half, but it won't stand up. Both of the worrying defensive trends show up, as a careless turnover in midfield leads to a trademark Atlanta counterattack goal early in the second half, and the hosts force a late game-winner off a set piece. 2-1 to the bad guys.
Back at home, Atlanta is probably expecting to bounce from a pretty impressive road trip (3-1 win at RSL, and draws at TFC and Seattle) into a home win against a conference foe. D.C. United, meanwhile, is missing about a third of their roster and has struggled away from home against teams that excel in transition (which 3 Stacks SC does). Here's some good news: Patrick Mullins should be back for this game, and I even think he'll score the opening goal as Actual United starts brightly.
Unfortunately, this also means they wake the dragon that is Poser United, and they spend a long time under withering pressure as a result. United holds out to halftime, but the goals early in halves trend continues via Miguel Almiron. Yamil Asad makes it 2-1 on the hour mark, and United concedes a third one in the closing seconds as Hector Villalba has a breakaway thanks to DCU pushing for an equalizer. 3-1 ATL.
As has been pointed out, the odds are pretty against DCU here. And as much as I’d like to think the Black-and-Red will beat the odds and put on a great show for national television, I don’t really see that happening. Instead, I think D.C. tease us with the opening goal before giving up two for a final 2-1 scoreline. It’s cool, ATL. We’ll see you in June.
What do you think will happen tomorrow? Share your predictions in the comments, but first, don’t miss this week’s silly poll:
Which TV show, set in Georgia or D.C., would you want to star in?
This poll is closed
The Walking Dead
The West Wing