Atlanta United FC vs. New York City FC | 2017 MLS Match Preview
Atlanta United FC vs. New York City FC
2017 MLS Regular Season - Week 13
Bobby Dodd Stadium - Atlanta, Ga.
Sunday, May 28 – 5 pm ET
WATCH: ESPN and ESPN Deportes in USA; MLS LIVE in Canada
Sunday's Memorial Day weekend match is a big occasion in Atlanta: It's the fifth straight sellout for the expansion team which is currently leading MLS with the highest average attendance. The weekend started with an MLS Summer Beat concert featuring Marietta's own Mike WiLL Made-it. And the match itself against NYCFC marks Atlanta's first "revenge" match of their brief existence:
Why the eagerness to get back at NYCFC? That's because David Villa & Co. dominated ATLUTD three weeks ago at Yankee Stadium on their way to a 3-1 triumph. Atlanta consider it their worst game of the season and readily admit they were outplayed. That sets the stage for what was already set to be an entertaining match with two of the top three scoring teams in the league going head to head.
Atlanta United FC
Atlanta United have overcame the first real speed bump of their inaugural season, responding to back-to-back 3-1 losses with a draw in Portland and a comprehensive 4-1 victory against Houston in front of their raucous home crowd in Week 12 which definitively saw the Five Stripes get their mojo back.
It won't go unnoticed that both results coincided with a tactical shift, which saw the speedy and hard-working Hector "Tito" Villalba move into the center forward role in place of target man Kenwyne Jones. Until starter Josef Martinez works his way back to full fitness, it's hard to see the team move away from that formula.
- Suspended: Tata Martino (head coach)
- Suspended next yellow card: None
- On Loan: MF Chris Goslin, DF Miles Robinson, GK Alex Tambakis (USL - Charleston Battery)
- International duty: None
- Injury Report: OUT — FW Jacob Peterson (right lower leg injury); QUESTIONABLE — FW Josef Martinez (left quad injury)
Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1, left to right): Alec Kann — Greg Garza, Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, Michael Parkhurst, Tyrone Mears — Carlos Carmona, Jeff Larentowicz — Yamil Asad, Miguel Almiron, Julian Gressel — Hector "Tito" Villalba
Notes: Star striker Josef Martinez trained in full with the team on Friday and the head coach gave a "we'll see" on a potential appearance vs. NYCFC, so a cameo role isn't out of the question ... Assistant coach Jorge Theiler will take over for suspended head coach Gerardo "Tata" Martino, who was dismissed from the Week 12 match against Houston.
- Atlanta United-designed Outkast album cover
- Seltzer: Here's what Atlanta fans can expect out of Brad Guzan
- West: The story behind Atlanta's Footie Mob supporters' group
- Five questions with Andrew Carleton
- Alec Kann seizing opportunity with hometown club
- Listen: Latest edition of the Mouths of the South podcast
- Larentowicz and Gonzalez Pirez on preparing for NYCFC
- Q&A with Atlanta's Hector Villalba
- Atlanta's Almiron wins AT&T Goal of the Week award
New York City FC
NYCFC are wrapping up what is easily their toughest stretch of the regular season: four straight road matches which have seen the team traverse 6000 miles in just two weeks. Their 1W-1L-1D record compiled thus far on their travels sees them in third place in the East and in prime position to make a major move in the standings over the following month: Their next six matches through the end of June will all take place in the friendly confines of the Tri-State area.
- Suspended: None
- Suspended next yellow card: MF Alex Ring
- International duty: MF Yangel Herrera (Venezuela Under-20 national team)
- Injury Report: OUT – FW Khiry Shelton (hamstring); QUESTIONABLE – MF Andrea Pirlo (knee bone bruise), DF Ronald Matarrita (high ankle sprain)
Projected Starting XI (4-3-3, left to right): Sean Johnson – Ben Sweat, Alexander Callens, Maxime Chanot, RJ Allen – Maxi Moralez, Alex Ring, Mikey Lopez – Rodney Wallace, David Villa, Jack Harrison
Notes: If Ethan White's adductor injury is still problematic, RJ Allen would slot into the right back spot ... Expect Mikey Lopez to return to the NYCFC starting lineup in central midfield after earning positive reviews from his head coach following the club's victory in Orlando. Andrea Pirlo is out injured and Lopez is the closest player NYCFC have to replacing Yangel Herrera, who's shining with Venezuela at the Under-20 World Cup ... Forward David Villa's next goal will be No. 50 in an NYCFC uniform.
- Villa: This is the best NYCFC team ever assembled
- Alex Ring emerging as key leader in central midfield
- Mikey Lopez: We must match Atlanta's energy
- NYCFC's Herrera captains Venezuela to another win at U-20 World Cup
- Vieira: Comments by Orlando's Jason Kreis were a personal attack
- Listen: Soccer in the City podcast
This is the second all-time matchup between the two clubs and the final one in the 2017 regular season. They met for the first time on May 7 at Yankee Stadium, a 3-1 victory for NYCFC.
Referee: Armando Villarreal
Assistant Referees: Kyle Atkins (bench side), Eric Weisbrod (far)
Fourth Official: Marcos De Oliveira