After suffering a couple of losses, D.C. United looks to get back on top on Saturday evening. Can the hosts get the better of Atlanta United in front of a home crowd at Audi Field? Or will the visitors cause an upset?
This is one of the rare fixtures that simply doesn’t throw up ties. D.C. United won when the pair met back in 2020, while Atlanta had won two on the bounce prior to that. Interestingly, each of the ten renewals of this fixture have yielded a winner, with D.C. winning six and Atlanta winning four.
D.C. United – Solid at home
Saturday’s hosts come into this fixture off the back of two disappointing results. They lost at New England last time out, despite scoring two goals, while they came off second best at Nashville shortly before their loss in the north east, again scoring twice without reward. Offensively, D.C. continues to do the business, but their recent efforts at the back simply haven’t been good enough.
Fortunately, confidence isn’t likely to be too low in the home camp, as Audi Field is where they’ve been at their best this season. Hernán Losada’s men have won six out of eight on their own patch, including each of their last four, conceding just two goals in the process.
Expected Line-Up: Turner – Kempin – Odoi-Atsem, Brillant, Birnbaum – Mora, Felipe, Asad, Gressel, Reyna – Arriola, Kamara.
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Atlanta United – Making progress
It wasn’t long ago that Atlanta United appeared to be moving rather rapidly in the wrong direction. The one time MLS Cup winners hadn’t won for several months and were struggling to impose themselves on games, especially in the final third.
However, things have turned around nicely at Mercedes Benz Arena. Following their 2-2 draw with Montreal, which signalled no less than 12 games without a win, the Five Stripes have won three on the bounce, beating Columbus Crew, LAFC and Toronto FC, scoring five goals and conceding just two in the process. Such results should mean that the visitors approach this game in good spirits.
Expected Line-Up: Guzan – Lennon, Robinson, Franco, Walkes, Bello – Luiz Araujo, Sosa, Moreno – Barco, Martinez.
Expert Pick #1 – D.C. United to Win @+105
Atlanta have improved of late, but each of their three recent wins have come on home soil. Away from home, the Five Stripes still look like a side that can be rolled over with a degree of ease. Moreover, the hosts look very strong at home, so much so that they probably should be a bit shorter in the early betting.
D.C. United boast a pleasing average of 2.25 points per game at home, while the visitors have collected a rather measly average of 0.82 points on their travels. D.C. also boasts the best home defensive record at home in the Eastern Conference, while Atlanta’s defensive record is anything but pleasing on the road. Combine this with the fact that the hosts have an average expected goal difference of +0.61, against Atlanta’s away-day average of -0.52, and a bet on the home win is hard to avoid.
Expert Pick #2 – D.C. United to Score Over 1.5 Goals @-105
The hosts haven’t always scored multiple goals at home, scoring two or more in just three out of eight at Audi Field, but we know they have firepower having scored more than once in each of their last four, while this match against a weak Atlanta defense provides the perfect opportunity for more forward fluency.
Atlanta have often avoided conceding two on the road, but they’ve regularly done this by luck as opposed to anything else. The visitors have surrendered an average of 1.69 expected goals per 90 minutes on the road, which tells us that they’re not exactly stopping their opponents from creating chances.
Expert Pick #3 – Paul Arriola to Score @+225
If you’re interested in a player prop, then Paul Arriola could be your man. Having scored in the week, the USA international looks a good bet here. When he’s fit, Arriola is a key fixture in this D.C. side and he’s often a goal threat. He’s only notched three times so far this campaign, but he does boast a very encouraging 0.41 expected goals for, which is better than a few players who are priced at lower odds to get on the score-sheet this weekend.
Atlanta have improved in recent weeks and are likely to be feeling more confident as a result, but all of their improvement has come on home soil. The away form of the visitors does not bode well ahead of a game against a very strong home side. All the signs point towards home dominance and bettors can profit by going that way.