Atlanta United will play home to Austin FC in a showdown at Mercedes-Benz Stadium featuring two of the biggest surprise stories in Major League Soccer right now.
While Austin has already surpassed expectations in the Lone Star State, where they are now sitting second in the West with 34 points, the Five Stripes have fallen short of their high hopes halfway through the regular season and are five points off of a playoff berth.
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Atlanta United vs Austin FC Betting odds
Tips and Prediction
Last weekend, an unanticipated turn for the better occurred for Atlanta in a campaign full of twists, many of them literal and mostly unpleasant.
Four minutes before the end of regulation, the visitors tied the game at 2-2, saving them from what appeared to be another humbling defeat while playing away from home.
With their next three games taking place at home, Gonzalo Pineda will see this as an opportunity to jump back into the playoff race since four of their five wins this season have come at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. That was their first point on the road since May.
Last weekend, practically every positive and negative aspect of their 2022 campaign was on full display. This team occasionally displayed incredible individual talent, but they also occasionally neglected their defensive duties at crucial moments.
Atlanta continues to battle valiantly to stay in the running for a postseason berth despite having multiple key players on the long-term injury list, with six of their last seven domestic games being decided by one goal or less.
The Five Stripes have been among the best in the league at keeping possession with strong build-up play and creativity, leading the league in key passes (188). However, they have frequently appeared vulnerable on the break, giving up multiple goals in nine domestic games this season.
Even though Austin FC’s attacking performance has been strong thus far in 2022, it occasionally seems like they are playing possum in the early going. The Verde and Black last week trailed the Colorado Rapids 2-0 after 22 minutes before rapidly turning the game around with three goals before the hour mark to win 3-2.
Austin has only lost one of their five regular-season games this year where they trailed by multiple goals. On Monday, however, they were able to start chipping away at their deficit much sooner, scoring twice in the first half for the first time since May 18.
Although they are deceptively good on defense as well, conceding the third-fewest goals among MLS clubs in the Western Conference, Josh Wolff has been able to assemble this team around some star players who have helped them become a sophomore success (22).
While they have only played in four games so far in 2022, this team has already outperformed themselves in many categories when compared to 2021. Last week, they set new franchise records for wins (10) and points (34), and they have already outperformed themselves in many other categories as well.
This season must feel like a win when compared to last year’s numbers, even though this squad seems to draw inspiration from those who predict that they will struggle as the pressure mounts.
Austin play with the kind of potency we are seeing, despite the fact that they always appear to arrive late, making it impossible for any side to contain them.
It would not come as a surprise to see the Verde and Black win a fourth straight road game in what will be the first-ever encounter between the two teams when you consider the Five Stripes consistently commit at least one or two errors every game.