KNOW YOUR ENEMY: FC Dallas vs. Atlanta United FC | 7.4.18

FRISCO – FC Dallas (9-2-5, 32 points) is coming off a 1-0 win on the road against Minnesota United FC and will have a quick turnaround and face Atlanta United FC (11-3-4, 37 points) on Wednesday. It will be the first time these two teams meet this season. This match will be a heavyweight battle; FC Dallas is currently tied for first in the Western Conference and Atlanta sits atop the league standings. Atlanta is the best team on the road this season, with a 5-1-2 record, and FC Dallas has not lost a match at home since July 29, 2017.

Opposing Strengths

Offense, offense, offense. Atlanta has scored an MLS-high 38 goals this season. They are incredibly dangerous up top and are among the most efficient teams in finishing their chances. Josef Martinez leads the league in goals with 14 and Miguel Almiron is tied for third in the league with seven assists. Getting Reto Ziegler back this week from suspension is huge for an FC Dallas team that has been among the best defensively.

Key Match-Ups

Reto Ziegler vs. Josef Martinez – Martinez has scored seven goals in his last six games for Atlanta. Having Reto Ziegler back on defense will be a boost to the Dallas defense, but he will have his hands tied with Martinez.

Carlos Gruezo vs. Jeff Larentowicz – FCD will have to do a good job of keeping the ball possessed in the middle of the field to slow down the Atlanta offense. Gruezo has largely been the most consistent player in the middle for Dallas.

Projected XI

(4-5-1) Brad Guzan; Franco Escobar, Leandro González Pirez, Michael Parkhurst, Mikey Ambrose; Ezequiel Barco, Héctor Villalba, Jeff Larentowicz, Julian Gressel, Miguel Almirón; Josef Martínez. 

Keys to Three Points

FCD must be able to play a full 90 minutes. If they suffer mental lapses for short periods of time, Atlanta will pounce and finish their chances. FCD most stay composed and just execute their game plan.