Storylines to Watch:
Even with a playoff spot locked up, Atlanta United has plenty to play for
The Five Stripes clinched a spot in the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs this past weekend thanks to D.C. United's 1-1 draw at New York City FC.
Their position does not mean the regular season is over by any stretch. Gerardo Martino's side now turn their attention to a tight Supporters' Shield race with the New York Red Bulls, and still have playoff seeding to play for. Securing a top-two spot in the Eastern Conference would allow Atlanta to avoid a Knockout Round match.
Player to Watch: Josef Martínez
Josef Martinez is arguably the most dangerous striker in MLS in 2018. The 25-year-old broke the MLS single-season goalscoring record against Orlando City SC on August 24. Roy Lassiter, Chris Wondolowski and Bradley Wright-Phillips had shared the 27-goal record prior to Martinez's tear.
The Venezuelan will likely add to his 28-goal total, as he continues to maintain an unprecedented strike rate (a goal every 81.5 minutes) for Atlanta United. He has seven more games to extend the record.
“It doesn't mean anything,” Martinez said. “It's not like I get an award for it. Those are just numbers. The only thing that matters to me is winning.”
Martinez's 28 goals have outperformed Zlatan Ibrahimović and Bradley Wright-Phillips by 12, meaning the 2018 Golden Boot is all but wrapped up.
The five-foot-six-inch forward joined Atlanta United on loan from Torino on February 2, 2017. He entered the league with more than 100 professional appearances spread across the top tiers in Venezuela, Switzerland and Italy. In his first season with Atlanta, Martinez made 20 appearances (17 starts), scoring a club-high 19 goals (with one assist).
Martinez was present in the Venezuela national team's attack as they faced rivals Colombia in Miami on September 7, but he then returned to Atlanta instead of traveling to face Panama.
Colorado Rapids vs Atlanta United FC - Head-to-Head
The Rapids have only met Atlanta United FC one time in the MLS regular season, resulting in a 0-1-0 record. ATLUTD is currently in second place in the Eastern Conference with a 16-5-6 overall record. The Rapids, meanwhile, are coming off of a 2-0 loss at the Portland Timbers at Providence Park. They will now host Atlanta for the first time with a season record that currently sits at 6-15-6 overall.
- Head-to-Head Overall: Colorado Rapids 0 wins, 0 goals | Atlanta United FC 1 win, 1 goal | 0 ties
- Head-to-Head in Colorado: Colorado Rapids 0 wins, 0 goals | Atlanta United FC 0 wins, 0 goals | 0 ties
- Previous Meeting: Atlanta United FC 1, Colorado Rapids 0 (June 24, 2017)