ExLink - 09/22/18 - ATLvRSL

Atlanta United vs. Real Salt Lake | 2018 MLS Match Preview

Atlanta United vs. Real Salt Lake
2018 MLS Regular Season — Week 30

Mercedes-Benz Stadium — Atlanta
Sept. 22 — 7 pm ET

WATCH: ESPN+, MLS LIVE on DAZN (Canada)

Fresh off a wild 4-3 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes, Atlanta United return home to take on a Real Salt Lake side that has lost just one of their last nine games.

RSL, which drew Minnesota United FC, 1-1, in Week 29, are in fifth place in the Western Conference, just two points behind LAFC and the Portland Timbers.

This is the second all-time meeting, with Atlanta United claiming a 3-1 win at Rio Tinto Stadium last April. Hector Villalba and Yamil Asad scored early in each half before Albert Rusnak pulled RSL to within a goal in the 69th minute. Brandon Vazquez put the finishing touches on the win deep in second-half stoppage time.

Atlanta United

Atlanta United (18-5-6) scored three unanswered goals to rally from a pair of two-goal deficits to beat San Jose, 4-3, Wednesday night to extend their Supporters’ Shield lead to four points over the New York Red Bulls.

Trailing 2-0, Villalba pulled the Five Stripes to within a goal in first-half stoppage time before Vako gave the Quakes a 3-1 lead in the 58th minute. Josef Martinez and Miguel Almiron scored three minutes apart before Martinez struck for the stoppage-time winner — his 30th of the season.

“I think it shows that the team had a lot of spirit tonight and that’s what we can rescue from this game,” Atlanta head coach Tata Martino said. “We’re able to fight back and get the comeback but if we would have played like that against a team that is fighting on top of the table, I think we could have lost this game by a few goals. There are some things to work on.”

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: D - Chris McCann, M - Jeff Larentowicz
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: None

Projected Starting XI
(3-4-1-2, right to left)
GK: Brad Guzan — Jeff Larentowicz, Michael Parkhurst, Leandro Gonzalez Pirez — Julian Gressel, Darlington Nagbe, Eric Remedi, Chris McCann — Miguel Almiron — Hector Villalba, Josef Martinez

Real Salt Lake

A three-game winning streak was snapped, but Real Salt Lake (13-10-6) still earned a point for a fourth consecutive game, drawing Minnesota United FC, 1-1, at home Saturday night.

Damir Kreilach gave RSL an early lead, scoring his 11th goal of the season in the 11th minute, but Miguel Ibarra leveled late for the Loons.

“Saturday was a weird game, it was a very weird game. It was a weird atmosphere whether it was the smoke in the air, our week-off break, I don’t know,” RSL boss Mike Petke said. “We certainly did enough to win that game. I always look forward to the next game and don’t harp on the past, but this one especially. It was crumpled up and thrown out. We’ll take the point and now it’s moving forward.”

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: M - Kyle Beckerman, D - Marcelo Silva, D - Brooks Lennon, D - Justen Glad
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: D - Tony Beltran (right knee surgery), M - Jordan Allen (knee surgery), GK - Alex Horwath (Achilles surgery), D - Demar Phillips (hamstring injury), D - David Horst (Achilles surgery); QUESTIONABLE: GK - Connor Sparrow (knee injury), D - Marcelo Silva (ankle injury), F - Luis Silva (groin injury), M - Kyle Beckerman (hamstring injury)

Projected Starting XI
(4-2-3-1, right to left)
GK: Nick Rimando — Brooks Lennon, Nick Besler, Justen Glad, Aaron Herrera — Sunny, Pablo Ruiz — Jefferson Savarino, Albert Rusnak, Joao Plata — Damir Kreilach

All-Time Series

  • This is the second all-time meeting with Atlanta United defeating Real Salt Lake, 3-1, on April 22, 2017

Officials

Referee: Chico Grajeda
Assistant Referees: Corey Rockwell, Peter Manikowski
4th Official: Ted Unkel
VAR: Kevin Terry Jr.