Atlanta United returns to action Saturday night to take onWestern Conference opponent Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium for the first-ever meeting between the two clubs. This is the final match of a four-game road stretch for Atlanta, which enters the match in sixth place in the Eastern Conference standings with eight points and is tied for the league’s best goal differential of +7. Real Salt Lake sits in sixth place in the Western Conference with eight points.
Atlanta is coming off a 2-1 defeat at Montreal on April 15 in which the team dropped a point late to last years’ Eastern Conference runners-up. Kenwyne Jones made his first start of the season and scored his first-career goal for Atlanta. Tito Villalba played Jones to pick up his second assist of the year and gave Atlanta United a 1-0 advantage in the 40th minute. Centerback Leandro González Pirez was sent off in first-half stoppage time after a penalty was called and eventually scored to level the match. Despite holding the Impact scoreless for 45 minutes while down a player, a redirected game-winner in second-half stoppage gave Montreal the win. González Pirez’s red card has since been rescinded and the defender will be available to play against RSL.
RSL return home after a 2-1 win at Colorado Rapids. Salt Lake was on the other end of a similar match that cost Atlanta United a point, as they overcame a 1-0 road deficit behind a straight-red card penalty kick and a late game-winning goal from Brooks Lennon to grind out three points on the road. Since replacing Jeff Cassar as head coach, RSL has gone 2-1-0 under new coach Mike Petke. The club has won each of its last two matches by an aggregate score of 5-1.
Saturday, April 22 | Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy, Utah. | 9:30 p.m. (EST)
Atlanta United (2-2-2, 8 points) vs. Real Salt Lake (2-3-2, 8 points)
TV: CW69 (Atlanta), FOX Sports Southeast (Regional)
Talent: Kevin Egan (play-by-play), Darren Eales (commentator), Brittany Arnold (sideline).
English Radio: 92.9 The Game
Talent: Adam Schick (play-by-play) and Jason Longshore (commentator).
Spanish Radio: La Mejor 1600 AM
Talent: Armando Carillo (play-by-play) and Daniel Cantu (commentator).