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[monks data]
Atlanta United
Major League Soccer
Jun 16, 2024 at 12.30am UK
Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Houston Dynamo

2 - 2

Rios (25'), Silva (55')
Silva (8')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Escobar (5'), Blessing (89')
Escobar (42'), Carrasquilla (44'), Ibrahim (53'), Micael (58')

Preview: Atlanta United vs. Houston Dynamo - prediction, team news, lineups

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

Atlanta United FC are set to host Houston Dynamo FC at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday in a cross-conference showdown that could prove pivotal in each sides' quest to qualify for the MLS Cup.

The home side are in 13th place with 16 points in the Eastern Conference, while the visitors are seventh in the Western Conference with 22, but both have been in poor form of late.

Match preview

Atlanta United midfielder Saba Lobjanidze (9) celebrates with forward Jamal Thiare on May 30, 2024© Reuters

The hosts are third-last in their conference and have accumulated an average of just one point per game, and extrapolated over the remainder of the season, this would represent their lowest ever tally since entering MLS as an expansion team in 2017.

Despite this, Atlanta are just three points from ninth-placed Nashville SC, who occupy the conference's final MLS Cup playoff spot.

However, while the home side could feasibly close this gap with 18 games left to play, they have only won once in their last 11 league fixtures.

Those 11 games saw the hosts lose six times and concede 17 goals, though they did score on 13 occasions.

Interestingly, Atlanta's goal difference of plus one is the seventh-best in the Eastern Conference and is significantly better than the sides around them in the table such as 12th-placed Montreal, who have a goal difference of minus 12.

Atlanta United head coach Gonzalo Pineda watches on November 3, 2023© Reuters

Head coach Gonzalo Pineda was sacked on June 3 after his side's loss to Charlotte FC last time out, and his assistant Rob Valentino was appointed as interim.

Valentino is yet to oversee a game but he will hope to improve upon his side's recent home MLS record as they have failed to win any of the last six fixtures at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and have in fact lost their last five.

On the other hand, opponents Houston have won just two of their last nine league games and have failed to win any of their last three away matches.

The visitors' current position of seventh would be enough to automatically qualify for the MLS Cup, and though they are level on points with eighth-placed Colorado Rapids, they do have a game in hand on their rivals, as well as on sixth-placed Austin FC.

Houston have scored 18 goals and conceded 18, a record that makes them MLS' joint-fourth-worst attacking team but contrastingly also the division's joint-fourth-best defensive side.

Houston Dynamo FC head coach Ben Olsen reacts on September 17, 2023© Reuters

Head coach Ben Olsen has been in charge since November 2022 and had an impressive debut season when he led Houston to fourth place, their joint-best conference position since 2011, as well as their joint-best points-per-game record since 2012.

Given his side are averaging 0.12 points per game less than last campaign, Olsen will naturally be disappointed that he has been unable to build on his good work in the 2023 season.

It should also be noted that the three previous encounters between Houston and Atlanta have all been high-scoring affairs, with matchups averaging nearly five goals per game.

Atlanta United Major League Soccer form:

Houston Dynamo Major League Soccer form:

Team News

Houston Dynamo head coach Ben Olsen on February 21, 2024© Reuters

The hosts will be without Tyler Wolff as he continues his recovery from a knee injury, but he should be available again in late June.

Centre-back Stian Gregersen will miss the game as a result of the hamstring injury he suffered last week.

Elsewhere, Luis Abram, Thiago Almada, Noah Cobb, Jay Fortune, Jayden Hibbert, Saba Lobjanidze, Bartosz Slisz and Caleb Wiley have been called up for their respective national teams.

The away side come into the game without Nelson Quinones due to a knee injury, McKinze Gaines as a result of a hip injury and Steve Clark because of a head injury.

Houston will also have to contend with the absence of midfielders Coco Carrasquilla and Brooklyn Raines, as well as goalkeeper Xavier Valdez, who all have international commitments.

Atlanta United possible starting lineup:
Cohen; Hernandez, Williams, Morales; Lennon, McCarty, Muyumba, Mosquera; Brennan, Thiare, Giakoumakis

Houston Dynamo possible starting lineup:
Tarbell; Dorsey, Sviatchenko, Bartlow, Steres; Artur, Herrera, Bassi; Aliyu, Kowalczyk, Blessing

SM words green background

We say: Atlanta United 1-4 Houston Dynamo

Houston and Atlanta have both struggled for form recently, but given the sheer number of absentees that Atlanta have to contend with it is fair to say that they could struggle on Sunday.

Additionally, this fixture has a history of high-scoring encounters so fans could be in for an entertaining clash.

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

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Eastern Conference

1Inter MiamiInter Miami24155454381650
2FC CincinnatiCincinnati24153643301348
3Columbus Crew22127346202643
4New York Red BullsNY Red Bulls2491143930938
5New York City FCNY City2411493529637
6Charlotte FCCharlotte FC2410682825336
7Orlando City249693837133
8CF MontrealMontreal246993448-1427
10Nashville SCNashville2468102636-1026
11DC United2568113550-1526
12Atlanta UnitedAtlanta2467113335-225
13Chicago Fire2467112940-1125
14Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia2459104242024
15New England RevolutionNew England2271142246-2422

Western Conference

1Los Angeles GalaxyLA Galaxy25137547341346
2Real Salt LakeSalt Lake24128449311844
3Los Angeles FCLos Angeles23135545301544
4Vancouver WhitecapsVancouver2311574031938
5Colorado RapidsColorado2511594741638
6Seattle SoundersSeattle2410773426837
7Portland TimbersPortland2410684839936
8Houston DynamoHouston239773127434
9Minnesota UnitedMinnesota Utd2486103841-330
10Austin FCAustin2486102635-930
12Sporting Kansas CityKansas2565144051-1123
13St Louis City24410103145-1422
14San Jose EarthquakesEarthquakes2442183159-2814

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