FC Cincinnati will look to continue what it started over the weekend against NYCFC, and that’s finish the Supporters Shield off. Atlanta United FC is next on the list for the Orange and Blue.
FCC definitely looked the part of a Supporters Shield winner on Saturday against lowly NYCFC, but Wednesday’s matchup against Atlanta will be a different beast entirely.
Unfortunately, it’s looking like FCC will still be without Yerson Mosquera somehow. At this point, I’m getting worried something is seriously wrong. However, FCC was able to flex its muscles on NYCFC and keep a shutout without him, and that was even while missing Obinna Nwobodo. That will be significantly more difficult against a strong Atlanta United attack.
But, FCC’s attack might fare better than it did even on Saturday. NYCFC has allowed four fewer goals than Atlanta has on the season. However, Atlanta’s 23 more goals scored on the season show that FCC might not be able to command the ball as much as they did on Saturday.
Both Lucho Acosta and Thiago Almada lead Major League Soccer in total goal involvements on the season with 22 apiece, and with Ajax’s reported interest in Almada dying down, FCC will need to cope with the Atlanta star’s brilliance.
Also in the NYCFC matchup, it seemed like the offense did start to gel a little bit more, with Aaron Boupendza absolutely beginning to get more involved in the attack. While he’s still suffering from some of that Trampoline Touch, he does seem to be getting better in my eyes.
Atlanta United FC is currently sixth on the MLS Eastern Conference table with a record of 11-7-8. On the season, the team has scored 48 goals and allowed 39, compared to FCC’s 42 and 28.
Obviously, Atlanta’s greatest strength is its attack. The side is in third place in most goals scored on the season so far, behind Columbus Crew and St. Louis CITY SC, who have both scored 50 goals.
Their attack is led by Almada, who is able to score, but also expertly distribute the ball. Currently, the Argentine midfielder leads MLS in assists with 13 and has also scored nine goals himself. Where Almada truly shows off highlight-worthy plays is on free kicks, where he takes up the mantle from Sebastion Giovinco. Almada would definitely rank on the list of best MLS free-kick takers. Following FCC’s matchup with Lionel Messi, and the team’s failure to control him at the free kick line, the team will NEED to improve at that area if they want to scoop up at least a point.
Almada isn’t all Atlanta has either, as Georgios Giakoumakis leads the forward line for the Georgia side. Giakoumakis has scored 12 goals on the season so far. Caleb Wiley and Tyler Wolff have also delivered four goals apiece, with Brooks Lennon and Luiz Araujo on three each.
That’s the biggest problem with Atlanta. FCC will need to be at its absolute best on the backline or literally anyone on the field in red and black could cut FCC’s heart out and serve it to the thousands in the Benz that night.