Atlanta United v New York Red Bulls
Two Eastern Conference teams battle it out in the early hours of Thursday morning when Atlanta United welcome the New York Red Bulls to the Mercedes-Benz Stadium for what is a huge match for the home side in particular.
Atlanta have just fallen off the pace in the chase for the top seven in recent weeks but this is their game in hand and a win will move them to within a point of the play-off spots and have them back in a position they will feel more comfortable in.
New York Red Bulls are safely positioned in the top seven but they head to Georgia with some real issues forming defensively. Almost out of nowhere they have conceded 10 goals in their last five matches and it seems like their defeat in the US Open Cup semi-final a few weeks ago has lingered and had a negative effect on them.
Atlanta have had all their injury problems this season but they are probably in their best shape squad wise for a few months and the one thing they have never lacked for is attacking options.
That is particularly significant here because teams like to rotate when midweek matches come along and the home side will have that luxury here having left Josef Martinez on the bench from the start against Cincinnati at the weekend.
The options for New York Red Bulls aren’t as strong so they might need to ask more of their players to back up from the weekend which puts them at a disadvantage. This is a game the Red Bulls can play out while Atlanta have to win it to keep their season alive and I think if there is a winner it will be the home side.
Toronto FC v New England Revolution
Two more Eastern Conference sides meet in the early hours of Thursday morning as Toronto FC take on the New England Revolution at BMO Field with the home side looking to continue their late push for a place in the postseason.
Both of these teams sit outside the top seven heading into this match. That is probably where Toronto were expected to be as the second half of their season was always going to be stronger once their marquee European signings turned up, but for the Revolution to sit outside the play-off spots is more of a surprise.
They were the Supporters’ Shield winners last term and while they lost some players in the close season, they will have been expected to do much better than they have done. They do go into this one undefeated in four though so maybe after all the upheaval of players departing has settled down at long last.
I don’t think anyone is surprised that Toronto are coming home with a wet sail. The additions of Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Bernardeschi are headline signings and they have already made a big impression on the Canadians. Toronto have scored 37 goals this season and almost a third of them came in the last four matches.
These two met at Gillette Stadium a couple of weeks ago and played out a 0-0 draw but the xG lines for that one was 1.02 vs 1.70 so there should have been goals in it. I think given that both teams will want to win this and enhance their top seven claims we will see those chances converted here. This has all the makings of one of those crazy MLS games where both teams score.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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