Atanta United vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC | 2018 MLS Match Preview

Alphonso Davies - Vancouver Whitecaps - Clapping

Atlanta United FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC
2018 MLS Regular Season – Week 3
Mercedes-Benz Stadium
– Atlanta
7:30 pm ET – March 17, 2018

If we’ve learned nothing more from Atlanta United FC, it’s that they play exciting soccer and they continue to set MLS attendance records. Both were true Sunday when the hosts raced out to a three-goal lead in their first win of the season, much to the delight of the 72,035 who packed Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC will head to Hotlanta as one of the league’s hottest teams, with six points from their first two games following a 2-1 win over Houston Dynamo last Saturday at BBVA Compass Stadium.

Atlanta United FC 

His tactics were questioned following a 4-0 season-opening thumping by Houston, but Tata Martino clearly got it right a week later. He utilized a 3-5-2 formation with Michael Parkhurst back at the enter of defense, Jeff Larentowicz back in midfield and Julian Gressel making a rare appearance at right wingback.

The results were clear, as Atlanta seized a 1-0 halftime lead before back-to-back goals by Miguel Almiron and Hector Villalba two minutes apart put away a D.C. United side that struck for a cosmetic consolation four minutes from full time.

After two different Five Stripes squads in the first two weeks of the season, which will be on display Saturday night?

  • Suspended: None 
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: M - Ezequiel Barco (right quad strain), F - Jon Gallagher (ankle); QUESTIONABLE: D - Leandro Gonzalez (hip contusion) 

Projected Starting XI
(3-5-2, right to left)
GK: Brad Guzan — Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, Michael Parkhurst, Franco Escobar — Greg Garza, Miguel Almiron, Jeff Larentowicz, Darlington Nagbe, Julian Gressel — Josef Martinez, Hector Villalba

  • Notes: Since the start of September 2017, Josef Martinez has 11 goals in nine home games (incl. playoffs). Only one other player has more than five home goals in that time (Nemanja Nikolic – 8). … Since the start of last season, Atlanta have scored multiple goals in 14 home games, tied for the second-most of any team in the league.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Possession? Nope. Multitude of chances? Nope. Six points from two matches? Heck yeah. The Whitecaps' 2-1 road win over Houston wasn’t pretty, but it sure was effective, with Kei Kamara scoring his 100th career goal on a 28th-minute penalty kick against the run of play and Brek Shea adding the winner four minutes after the break on the well-worked counter. The victory pushed the ‘Caps atop the Western Conference standings along with expansion side LAFC.

Kamara, who assisted on Shea’s winner, was named to the Team of the Week presented by Audi, though he struggled to name the other nine players to score 100 career goals in MLS history.

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: M - Aly Ghazal (left hamstring strain), D - Doneil Henry (left hamstring strain); QUESTIONABLE: D - Marcel de Jong (rib contusion)

Projected Starting XI
(4-1-4-1, right to left)
GK: Stefan Marinovic — Jakob Nerwinski, Kendall Waston, Aaron Maund, Marcel de Jong — Russell Teibert — Yordy Reyna, Efrain Juarez, Felipe, Alphonso Davies — Kei Kamara

  • Notes: Kei Kamara recorded his 100th MLS goal last weekend, becoming the 10th player in league history to reach the milestone. His next goal will move him into a tie with Taylor Twellman for the eighth-most in MLS history (101). … Vancouver won their first road game of the season 2-1 against Houston last week. The Whitecaps won back-to-back road games just twice over the last two seasons.

All-Time Series

  • Vancouver defeated Atlanta 3-1 in the lone meeting between the teams, June 3, 2017 at BC Place.


Referee: Ismail Elfath
Assistant Referees: Matthew Nelson, Adam Garner
4th Official: Rubiel Vazquez
VAR: Juan Guzman Jr