Atlanta United will face New York Red Bulls Saturday night at Orlando’s ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in the club’s opening match of the MLS is Back Tournament. The match will be nationally televised on FOX and TUDN at 8 p.m. EST and transmitted on Sports Radio 92.9 The Game.
- Atlanta is in Group E and after facing Red Bulls will play FC Cincinnati on Thursday, July 16 (9 a.m. EST, ESPN) and Columbus Crew SC on Tuesday, July 21 (8 p.m. EST, TUDN).
- Atlanta returns to play four months to the day of its last competitive match on March 11 against Club América at Estadio Azteca in Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League play.
- Atlanta’s last league match was a 2-1 win against FC Cincinnati at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on March 7 in its MLS home opener, with goals from Emerson Hyndman and Ezequiel Barco.
- Each of Hyndman’s three goals for Atlanta in MLS play have been game-winning goals: Week 1 against Nashville SC, Week 2 against FC Cincinnati and against San Jose in 2019 (3-1).
- Barco scored his 10th career MLS goal against FC Cincinnati. Atlanta holds a 7-1-1 record when the Argentine scores.
- Atlanta has a 1-5-2 all-time record against Red Bulls (including playoffs), and a 0-4-2 record in regular-season matches. The previous match ended in a 3-3 draw at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on July 7, 2019.
- Red Bulls enters the match with a 1-0-1 record this season after starting the season with a 3-2 win over Group E opponent FC Cincinnati and then playing Real Salt Lake to a 1-1 draw.
- Atlanta ranks fourth in MLS this season in passing accuracy (83.48) and has attempted the most passes (1102).
- Through two league matches, Pity Martinez and Barco rank second and third in fouls drawn with nine and eight, respectively. Since Atlanta joined the league in 2017, Barco has drawn more fouls per 90 minutes (3.59) than all current MLS players with a minimum of 50 games played.
Saturday’s match comes just days after black players, media, and personnel made history by dressing uniform in black shirts and kneeling before the first set of matches. The shirts had various messages of support for the Black Lives Matter movement that’s swept the country. Pictured above, Miles Robinson posted his support on his Instagram account with the rest of the black contingent of players at Atlanta United.
It will be interesting to see if Atlanta United will do anything as a club before the start of Saturday’s match. Other clubs like Minnesota United and Philadelphia Union have made videos, knelt as a club, and Union went as far as wearing names of victims of police brutality on their kits.
So far, ATL has yet to make a statement or demonstrate support for the movement.
Saturday, July 11 | ESPN Wide World of Sports, Orlando, FL|8 p.m. (ET)
Atlanta United (2-0-0, 6 points) vs. New York Red Bulls (1-0-1, 4 points)
TV | FOX, TUDN
English Radio | 92.9 The Game
Photo: Matthew Stith