Atlanta United FC vs Colorado Rapids
MLS Regular Season, Week 9
April 27, 2019 - 4:00 PM
Mercedes-Benz Stadium - Atlanta, Georgia
First visit to Atlanta's new home...
As the Colorado Rapids head to face Atlanta United FC they will be entering uncharted territory having never played in the new home of Atlanta. The Rapids have only faced the reigning MLS Champions twice in their young history. The last time the two sides met in the Peach State was June 24, 2017 at Bobby Dodd Stadium (Atlanta's interim home) while their permanent home, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, was being constructed.
Atlanta United are 16-4-8 during the regular season at home since the stadium opened in August 2017. However, just four months after lifting the MLS Cup in the same stadium, Frank de Boer's men have yet to secure three points at home in 2019.
“We want to put that fear back in teams of coming into Mercedes-Benz to play us. Right now it’s not there,” said captain Michael Parkhurst on Saturday following a 2-1 loss to FC Dallas.
Kei Kamara continues strong run of form...
As mentioned last week, Kei Kamara is currently riding a very good run of form and the MLS veteran scored yet another goal this past weekend in Chicago, extending his streak to four games. Kamara, while playing every minute so far this season, has averaged 0.625 goals per contest. His 40th-minute header in Chicago moved him into a three-way tie for fourth place on the MLS goals chart, sitting in the company of Darwin Quintero and Jozy Altidore, who each have five scores to their name.
Kamara will be looking to continue his good run against Atlanta United FC, a side he's only faced once.
What to watch for...
Connor Cape, Radio Play-by-Play Announcer
While the Rapids find themselves in the middle of a difficult stretch, we know it won't last forever.
Next up, it's the reigning champions of MLS, Atlanta United. It's going to be one of the largest crowds the Burgundy Boys operate in front of all year. But more than that, it's an opportunity for the squad to put aside the recent results and focus only on the task at hand. It's our XI against 35,000+ and I know they'll be up for the challenge.
After winning MLS Cup 2018, Atlanta saw head man Tata Martino and prolific midfielder Miguel Almirón depart and the Five Stripes have felt their absence. They've currently gone three straight home matches without a win, including a loss over the weekend to FC Dallas. Both the Rapids and Atlanta United will be looking to escape recent droughts which should make for a hotly contested match.
Jordan Angeli, Radio Analyst
There is a lot riding on this weekend's game in Atlanta with both teams seeing frustrating starts to their 2019 seasons. I anticipate this will be a challenge that both teams show up ready to face head on.
Atlanta just lost their first home game last weekend in a dramatic 2-1 fashion. With a new head coach in Frank De Boer, and the loss of their attacking engine Miguel Almirón in the offseason, the Five Stripes are still working to figure out their identity this season.
Ezequiel Barco is in form as part of the Atlanta attack. His pace and shiftiness on the ball will be something that the Rapids will want to be aware of as the creative player has a desire to get on the ball. The Rapids will need to pressure and limit his space in the attacking third.
During the first half in Chicago, the Rapids looked like a team who didn’t let circumstances dictate how they would play. They just played and believed in their ability to defend as a unit and attack together. If they can do that for a full 90 minutes against Atlanta, I think they'll have a good chance at leaving the Peach State with a result, especially if Kei Kamara extends his scoring streak. All it takes is one win to get things rolling.