Match Preview: Nashville SC vs Atlanta United

Nashville picked up their second win of the season with a 1-0 win over expansion side Austin FC. Today they travel Mercedes Benz Stadium to take on Atlanta United FC. Nashville will look to pick up their first road win of the season against an Atlanta United team that is still finding its feet under new manager Gabriel Heinze. Will Nashville be able to find the back of the net on the road? Will Josef Martínez be able to find success against one of the best defenses in the league?

Nashville SC

Nashville SC projected XI

Last weeks match against Austin FC was more of the same for the Boys In Gold. Along with a strong defensive performance, they created a high amount of chances but struggled to convert. In the prematch press conference, Gary Smith had this to say: ” There is only one way of trying to improve – be it in front of goal or anywhere else, and that’s to work hard at it, and try to put players in the most natural positions you can to replicate a match situation: under pressure, at-pace, and in situations that are not stereotypical.”

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Atlanta’s defense has been stout and will limit opportunities but Hany Mukhtar should be back in the lineup and bring a much needed link between the midfield and attack. Additionally Daniel Ríos is back and in contention to make the bench. His finishing ability will be a valuable asset for Nashville.

Smith has opted for the 4-4-2 formation the past three matches while Hany Mukhtar has recovered from his injury. I expect to see a return of both Mukhtar and the 4-2-3-1 as Nashville will look to inject some creativity into the middle of the pitch. However, don’t be surprised to see an in game shift to a 4-4-2 if Nashville is chasing a goal.

Atlanta United

Atlanta United projected XI

2020 was a year to forget for Atlanta United. They lost Josef Martínez in their season opener against Nashville, failed to advance from their MLS is Back group, and finished outside of the playoffs. Their rebuild is led by manager Gabriel Heinze, who has sought to bring back the attacking verve they once had under Tata Martino.

The biggest story of Atlanta United season has been watching Josef Martínez look to regain form. He has two goals thus far this season, and while he is back to full fitness he is still struggling to reach the heights previously. His late equalizer from the penalty spot gave Atlanta one of the best results of the season thus far in Seattle.

The two teams are evenly matched in the goals for and against column, but both teams have different issues. While Nashville has struggled to finish their chances, Atlanta has struggled to create much attacking output. Even though they are at home, I think they will still continue to struggle for attacking output.

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Pod picks

Ben Wright

Score: Atlanta 1 – 1 Nashville
Scorers: Jhonder Cádiz
MOTM: Dave Romney
Bold Prediction: Nashville takes double digit shots for the 7th straight game

Andy Simmons

Score: Atlanta 1 – 0 Nashville
MOTM: Dave Romney
Bold Prediction: Nashville outshoots Atlanta after going down before halftime

Jonathan Slape

Score: Atlanta 0 – 0 Nashville
MOTM: Dax McCarty
Bold Prediction: McCarty has 4 tackles and 5 interceptions

Davey Shepherd

Score: Atlanta 0 – 1 Nashville
Scorers: Jhonder Cádiz
MOTM: Jhonder Cádiz
Bold Prediction: Nashville gets their first road win

John Sloop

Score: Atlanta 2 – 1 Nashville
Scorers: Randall Leal
MOTM: Randall Leal

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Match Info

Teams: Nashville SC v Atlanta United FC
Power RankingsNashville (3rd overall) vs Atlanta (7th overall)
Odds: NSH (+220), ATL (+115), Draw (+230) via MGM
Date: Saturday, 05/29/21
Time: 2:30PM Central, Mercedes Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia
TV:  MyTV 30 (local), ESPN+ (out of market)
Radio: 94.9 The Game 2 (English); El Jefe 96.7 (Spanish)
Forecast: 74°/51°. Partly Cloudy. 10% chance of rain. 55% humidity.

Author: Jonathan Slapeoriginated from outside of Atlanta but has lived in Nashville since 2005. Original member of Speedway Soccer and has been talking and occasionally writing about Nashville SC since the USL days. Self proclaimed official fashion correspondent. Outside of Nashville SC you can find him singing the praises of Jurgen Klopp, discussing the latest in sneakers and soccer fashion with a good stiff drink.

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