Atlanta United are preparing to take on FC Dallas at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium and they will be hoping to make it back-to-back wins after picking up their first three points of the season against New England Revolution last weekend.
Surprisingly, the Five Stripes are still without an MLS home win in 2019 following underwhelming 1-1 draws against both FC Cincinnati and Philadelphia Union.
FC Dallas are formidably strong at home but the same can’t be said for when they go on their travels. The Texan side have only won twice on the road in their last ten attempts.
Boring under de Boer
Atlanta have been by far the most exciting team in Major League Soccer since their introduction in 2017, playing a fast-paced and enthralling style of attacking football under Tata Martino who has since moved on to take charge of the Mexican national team after securing an MLS Cup with Atlanta last year.
Frank de Boer arrived in the States on the back of disappointing spells in charge of Inter Milan and Crystal Palace in England. He hasn’t got off to the greatest of starts in Atlanta, reverting from a brand of football the fans were happy with and many have brought his managerial ability into question already.
De Boer has the fans off his back for the time being, thanks to that good result in New England, but he will need to follow that up with something positive at home against FC Dallas.
Ezequiel Barco finally starting to shine
Ezequiel Barco has struggled to prove his potential after his big money move from Independiente last year. On the pitch, things are finally starting to improve for the young Argentinian who is receiving the benefits of having more importance to the team after Miguel Almiron’s move to Newcastle United in January.
Barco proved to be pivotal as Atlanta secured their first win of the season – One that was much-needed – in New England last weekend. He found the net twice with the second being an absolute beauty which he started outside of the post before it curled in last minute.
The 20-year-old didn’t start in New England, he came on to replace Eric Remedi in the opening quarter of an hour. His scintillating performance from the bench may have impressed de Boer enough to give him a start against FC Dallas on Saturday evening.
Recently named MLS Player of The Week, Ezequiel Barco looks like a good bet to be an anytime scorer against FC Dallas if he is given the nod for a place in the starting line-up.
Bet against goals
When you sit and think of Atlanta United, you think of a team who score goals for fun, especially with a man like Josef Martinez up front who has proved so deadly for the Five Stripes over the last couple of years.
So far under Frank de Boer’s stewardship, things have been very different. Atlanta are five games into the 2019 MLS season and not one of their games has seen over 2.5 goals so far. The reigning MLS champions had scored at least twice in nine straight home games before de Boer’s arrival, and
now they find themselves struggling to put teams away at the Mercedes-Benz which had been established as a serious fortress.
FC Dallas don’t pickup many wins away from home, so this provides an opportunity for Atlanta to secure their first home win of the season. I fancy them to grab three points in what will be a narrow victory.
Atlanta United to win @ 1.61
Under 2.5 goals @ 2.15
Ezequiel Barco to score anytime @ 3.25