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[monks data]
May 29, 2022 at 12am UK at Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Atlanta
1 - 2
Columbus Crew
Dwyer (90+1')
Moreno (45+5'), Ibarra (45+10'), Franco (89'), Dwyer (90+3')
Almada (90+7')
FT(HT: 0-2)
Mensah (1'), Hurtado (45')
Sands (61')

Preview: Atlanta United vs. Columbus Crew - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Major League Soccer clash between Atlanta United and Columbus Crew, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Following three matches without a win, Atlanta United aim for victory over MLS Eastern Conference rivals Columbus Crew when the teams meet at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday.

Having both enjoyed a midweek break due to early US Open Cup exits, the pair will kick off separated by just three points in the standings, with the hosts currently holding the upper hand.


Match preview

Atlanta United head coach Gonzalo Pineda on the bench against CF Montréal during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on March 19, 2022© Reuters

In search of just a second win from six outings, Atlanta were ultimately indebted to substitute Dom Dwyer's 88th-minute strike last time out, as they required a dramatic late equaliser to salvage even a point at Nashville.

Last Saturday's clash at GEODIS Park saw the teams play out a 2-2 draw, after a major rain delay brought the game to a halt midway through the first half - resulting in an away point for the visitors, which was sealed late into the night.

The Five Stripes' Southeastern rivals had only recently knocked them out of the US Open Cup - a defeat which came amid an underwhelming run of form at the Georgia club.

Gonzalo Pineda's side sit eighth in the Eastern Conference standings - just outside the last MLS Cup playoffs spot - having won, drawn and lost four fixtures so far.

Defensive deficiencies have undermined Atlanta's campaign to this point, but with struggling opponents now visiting the Benz, the attacking prowess of Thiago Almada and company could be set to shine; the hosts have posted a tally of 19 goals this term, including at least two in each of their last four games.

Columbus Crew midfielder Darlington Nagbe (6) celebrates his goal with teammates during the second half against the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena on March 20, 2022© Reuters

Taking into account their humbling third round cup exit to USL Championship side Detroit City last month, Columbus have managed just one win from their last ten matches dating back to mid-March.

The Black and Gold therefore languish down in 12th place in the Eastern Conference, with just 15 goals scored from 13 league games.

After previously taking four points from fixtures against DC United and New England, the Crew have since suffered successive 2-0 losses, after they also endured a long weather delay on Saturday night only to come out of their clash with LAFC empty-handed.

Following several hours waiting, Columbus controlled most of the opening hour on home turf, but nevertheless emerged scoreless for the sixth time in their last eight matches.

Finding themselves outside of the playoff picture, three points behind Atlanta, the side that finished ninth last year will be aiming to reverse their decline soon, and they now have one last chance to do so ahead of the international break.

Atlanta United Major League Soccer form:
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • D

Atlanta United form (all competitions):
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • D

Columbus Crew Major League Soccer form:
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • L

Columbus Crew form (all competitions):
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • L


Team News

Atlanta United forward Josef Martinez (7) (left) reacts with teammates after scoring a goal against CF Montreal during the first half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on March 19, 2022© Reuters

Atlanta United's injury list continues to lengthen ahead of Saturday's game, as defender Andrew Gutman has been ruled out for up to three months with a quad injury sustained against Nashville last week.

In Gutman's absence, the hosts are set to turn to Venezuela full-back Ronald Hernandez or Mikey Ambrose at left back, while goalkeeper Brad Guzan, Miles Robinson and Osvaldo Alonso are all sidelined by season-ending injuries.

While star striker Josef Martinez is back in training for the Five Stripes, after undergoing knee surgery last month, he will only be available for first-team selection next month. Therefore, top scorer Ronaldo Cisneros will once again lead the line up front.

Columbus manager Caleb Porter, meanwhile, is still searching for the right formula to end his team's goalscoring woes, but is expected to persist with a 4-2-3-1 formation built around Lucas Zelarayan.

The visitors' fortunes have nosedived during a nine-game barren spell for the Argentinian playmaker, who will most probably be joined by winger Derrick Etienne in attack.

Following the recent sale of Gyasi Zardes to Colorado, Miguel Berry has been favoured as the Crew's lone frontman.

Atlanta United possible starting lineup:
Shuttleworth; Lennon, Franco, DeJohn, Ambrose; Ibarra, Rossetto; Moreno, Almada, Araujo; Cisneros

Columbus Crew possible starting lineup:
Room; Santos, Williams, Mensah, Moreira; Nagbe, Artur; Zelarayan, Yeboah, Etienne; Berry


SM words green background

We say: Atlanta United 1-0 Columbus Crew

There is little reason to suspect that Columbus can find their scoring touch on recent evidence, and even a single strike could be enough to seal maximum points for the hosts on Saturday.

Atlanta's attacking lineup can be formidable on their day, and even a spate of injuries will not deny them victory over an ailing opposition side.


For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.


Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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How you voted: Atlanta vs Columbus Crew

Atlanta United
75.0%
Draw
18.8%
Columbus Crew
6.3%
16
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FC Cincinnati forward Brandon Vazquez (19) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against CF Montreal in the first half at TQL Stadium on April 2, 2022
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Tables

Eastern Conference

TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia177822213929
2New York Red BullsNY Red Bulls188552820829
3CF MontrealMontreal179263229329
4New York City FCNY City1684431171428
5Orlando City177462023-325
6New England RevolutionNew England176652726124
7FC CincinnatiCincinnati177372730-324
8Columbus Crew165652018221
9Inter MiamiInter Miami166371725-821
10Charlotte FCCharlotte FC1862101722-520
11Atlanta UnitedAtlanta165472424019
12Toronto1853102434-1018
13Chicago Fire174581522-717
14DC United154291827-914

Western Conference

TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia177822213929
2New York Red BullsNY Red Bulls188552820829
3CF MontrealMontreal179263229329
4New York City FCNY City1684431171428
5Orlando City177462023-325
6New England RevolutionNew England176652726124
7FC CincinnatiCincinnati177372730-324
8Columbus Crew165652018221
9Inter MiamiInter Miami166371725-821
10Charlotte FCCharlotte FC1862101722-520
11Atlanta UnitedAtlanta165472424019
12Toronto1853102434-1018
13Chicago Fire174581522-717
14DC United154291827-914

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