An MLS doubleheader on Sunday kicks off when Atlanta United FC heads to the West Coast to face the Seattle Sounders. The Sounders are slight favorites at home with a moneyline of +102 compared to Atlanta at +240. Finally, a draw is listed at +256.
Despite taking just four points from their last four league games, Atlanta sits third in the Eastern Conference standings. With a win on Sunday, they could jump into second place, three games back of first-place Philadelphia with two games in hand. The bottom line is that they are still in a good position to return to the playoffs and defend their crown.
Meanwhile, the Sounders are in the middle of a tight race for second place in the Western Conference, as LAFC is running away from the pack. Seattle currently sits on 32 points, meaning a win could move them from fourth place to second place. However, despite winning two of their last three games, the Sounders are not far removed from a four-game losing skid, so they still have to prove that they’re back on track.
All Together Now
Part of Seattle’s problem over the past couple of months has been its inability to get its best players on the field at the same time. However, there is hope that they will get midfielders Nico Lodeiro, Cristian Roldan, and Gustav Svensson playing in the midfield together for the first time since April. The Sounders will face a tough test against the likes of Darlington Nagbi and Eric Remedi in Atlanta’s midfield, so having that trio back will be huge.
The Sounders also have good news on the attack with both Jordan Morris and Raul Ruidiaz back from international duty. Morris and Victor Rodriguez can both be dangerous on the wings, which is where Atlanta has a weakness that could be exposed. Meanwhile, Ruidiaz is the team’s leading scorer in league play and should be fresh after playing limited minutes for Peru during the Copa America.
Who We Got?
Atlanta’s biggest problem for this game could be all of the players who are unavailable. Jeff Larentowicz will sit out with a red-card suspension, forcing United to shuffle their backline. Miles Robinson has done a good job of holding the group together, and Atlanta has Brad Guzan in net. But Atlanta can be vulnerable at fullback, especially on the left side, where they’ve yet to find a permanent solution.
On the attack, Ezequiel Barco remains out with an injury that has caused him to miss the past month. Despite missing a month, he’s still second on the team in goals. The saving grace, of course, is Josef Martinez, who has tallied 12 goals this season. Gonzalo Martinez has become a viable running mate with two goals and two assists in his last five games while Julian Gressel is also helpful on the attack. However, Atlanta is heavily dependent on Josef finding the back of the net.
Atlanta made a long trip out west after playing midweek in the US Open Cup. Most of their regulars played in that game, so a little rotation could weaken a team that’s already missing some key figures. Meanwhile, Seattle is undefeated in nine home matches this year, winning seven of them. Bet on the Sounders beating Atlanta on Sunday.