Sunday will see Frank De Boer and his Atlanta United team host the brand new franchise FC Cincinnati at Mercedes Benz Stadium. Atlanta are coming in to this one in a very poor vein of form but despite that, they should have enough to get past Alan Koch’s side.
Amazingly, De Boer’s Atlanta team were the only MLS side to not score a goal in the opening week of the season when they lost 2-0 to DC United last Sunday. Fatigue may have played a part in their performance due to the fact they played just three days earlier in the CONCACAF Champions League. This is something they will have to contend with again this week as they suffered a 3-0 drubbing away to Monterrey in the Champions League quarter-final first leg on Wednesday night.
Despite all of this, you would expect they will still have enough to overcome FC Cincinnati who played the first MLS game in franchise history last week. In their maiden voyage they would take on Seattle Sounders at CenturyLink Field – they would get off to an absolute flyer when Leonardo Bertone hammered home a screamer on 13 minutes. However, Seattle were ultimately too good for the Ohio based side and would eventually run out 4-1 winners.
Josef Martinez was the golden boot winner in MLS last season and as a result, you would expect there is still much more to come from him this season. After drawing a blank in week one, he disappointed thousands of MLS fantasy owners as well as his own fans. I would expect him to go all out to right that wrong this weekend – especially in front of a home crowd. This will be the first domestic game to be played at the Mercedes Benz Stadium since the MLS Cup final in December in front of a record 73,000 strong crowd.
On the other side of the ball, all eyes will be on Leonardo Bertone following his stunning volley last week. It wasn’t just his wonder strike that impressed either as opposing fan site, SounderAtHeart.com awarded him the title of their man of the match. Cincy will also be looking to the likes of Roland Lamah and Fanendo Adi to impress after not getting much action in a game which saw their side have just 36% of possession.
Prediction: Despite their recent shortcomings, it’s hard to see Atlanta losing this one to be perfectly honest. I’m going to back the home side to pick up their first win of the season with a comfortable 3-0 victory.