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Jul 24, 2021 at 8.30pm UK
AtlantaAtlanta United
0-1
Columbus CrewColumbus Crew
 
FT(HT: 0-0)
Mensah (65')
Hurtado (44'), Francis (90+2')

Preview: Atlanta United vs. Columbus Crew - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Atlanta United vs. Columbus Crew - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's Major League Soccer clash between Atlanta United and Columbus Crew, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Atlanta United will go for their first victory under interim manager Rob Valentino when they host the Columbus Crew on Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

The Five Stripes earned their second successive point away from home in a 1-1 draw with FC Cincinnati, while Columbus drew 0-0 at home to Nashville SC.


Match preview

It has been a messy season thus far for Atlanta, filled with infighting, bizarre tactical moves and the longest regular-season winless drought in club history, which currently stands at nine games.

In a weird way, that is not only the bad news, but it could also be the good news for Valentino and his team as you would think that things cannot get any worse.

That, however, remains to be seen, but they did put together a much better effort in his first match in charge, coming back to draw the Orange-and-Blue on Wednesday and firing nine shots on target, more than they have had in any game this year.

They will hope to regain their confidence at home after losing at Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the first time all season last Saturday, 1-0 to the New England Revolution, in what was ultimately the last game for Gabriel Heinze as coach.

Their next four fixtures are against sides above them in the Eastern Conference table, and they will be keen to start strong versus a Columbus team who have won the last three matches against them.

Slowly but surely, the reigning MLS Cup champions have climbed their way up the table with points in each of their last five fixtures, currently sitting in sixth with 21 points.

Against Nashville in midweek, Caleb Porter knows that his team had a great chance to come away with three points, as they dominated the second half, firing six shots on target and forcing Joe Willis into several spectacular saves.

This team have been terrific in front of their home fans, winning 19 of their last 22 fixtures, including the playoffs on home soil, but scoring has been hard to come by for them on the road, having gone goalless in five matches away from home this year.

Given the number of injuries and players missing because of international tournaments, for this team to be in a playoff position with only one loss in their last nine games is an accomplishment.

As more of their regulars return from the Gold Cup and the injured list, they know that they can climb the table quickly as only two points separate them from the Philadelphia Union, who are currently in second place.

Atlanta United Major League Soccer form:
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • D

Columbus Crew Major League Soccer form:
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • D



Team News

Once again, Atlanta will be missing goalkeeper Brad Guzan plus defenders George Bello and Miles Robinson, who remain with the US national team at the Gold Cup.

Emerson Hyndman is still out with a torn ACL, Franco Ibarra has a lower-body injury, Mo Adams will be missing with a left quad issue and Jurgen Damm has a lower-body injury.

Jackson Conway and Ronald Hernandez cracked the starting 11 for the first time this year against Cincy, with Hernandez notching his first career MLS goal, while goalkeeper Alec Kann made five saves and Machop Chol recorded his first career MLS assist.

Columbus keeper Eloy Room only had to make one stop on Wednesday to earn his fourth shutout of the season and his first since a 0-0 draw versus Austin FC on June 27.

Derrick Etienne returned from international duty with Haiti at the Gold Cup earlier this week, as did Trinidad and Tobago striker Kevin Molino, who came on as a substitute.

Gyasi Zardes and Liam Fraser remain unavailable as they are with the US and Canadian national teams for the Gold Cup.

Aidan Morris has a left knee injury, Artur has a right hip problem, Milton Valenzuela and Vito Wormgoor have right thigh issues and Josh Williams is questionable with a left ankle injury.

Atlanta United possible starting lineup:
Kann; Hernandez, DeJohn, Ambrose, Lennon; Sosa, Rossetto, Mulraney; Chol, Conway, Martinez

Columbus Crew possible starting lineup:
Room; Afful, Jonathan, Lillard, Abdul-Salaam; Hairston, Kitchen, Etienne; Zelarayan, Santos, Wright-Phillips


We say: Atlanta United 0-1 Columbus Crew

Fixing everything that is broken in the Atlanta camp will take some doing, and even though they earned a point on Wednesday, they still look lost in the final third.

The Crew are starting to get some key players back into the fold, and they have improved their play away from home with points in three of their last four games.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data



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Major League Soccer Table

Eastern Conference

TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1New England RevolutionNew England27185451321959
2Nashville SCNashville251111344242044
3New York City FCNY City25116844291539
4Orlando City2510873636038
5CF MontrealMontreal2510783630637
6Atlanta UnitedAtlanta259973530536
7Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia249873125635
8DC United25104114136534
9Inter MiamiInter Miami2595112540-1532
10Columbus Crew2687113035-531
11New York Red BullsNY Red Bulls2476113029127
12Chicago Fire2665152643-1723
13FC CincinnatiCincinnati2448122444-2020
14Toronto2546152851-2318

Western Conference

TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1New England RevolutionNew England27185451321959
2Nashville SCNashville251111344242044
3New York City FCNY City24115844281638
4Orlando City2510873636038
5CF MontrealMontreal2510783630637
6Atlanta UnitedAtlanta259973530536
7Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia249873125635
8DC United25104114136534
9Inter MiamiInter Miami2595112540-1532
10Columbus Crew2687113035-531
11New York Red BullsNY Red Bulls2375112929026
12Chicago Fire2665152643-1723
13FC CincinnatiCincinnati2448122444-2020
14Toronto2546152851-2318
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