Atlanta United v LA Galaxy, Saturday August 3, 22:00
Defending MLS champions Atlanta United have found form as the season enters its crucial phase, but they face a tough test on Saturday against LA Galaxy
Atlanta Lead Head to Head
LA Galaxy have a long MLS history, whereas Atlanta joined the league in 2017, but the newer franchise has had the better of their meetings so far. They beat Galaxy 4-0 in their debut season and beat them again 2-0 last year on their way to the MLS Cup. This is their first meeting of the 2019 campaign, although they played out a 0-0 draw in a pre-season game in Los Angeles.
Champions Finding Form
Under previous boss Gerardo Martino, Atlanta played a dynamic style of football that swept all before them on their way to winning the MLS Cup. His replacement, Frank de Boer, has introduced a less frenetic, though still possession-based approach, and although, as Crystal Palace fans will confirm, the de Boer method can take a while to bear fruit, as the season has progressed, Atlanta have improved steadily. They remain inconsistent on the road, but in front of their passionate home fans at the Mercedes Benz Stadium, they’ve only lost once all season.
After a couple of seasons in the doldrums, LA Galaxy started the 2019-20 campaign strongly, winning seven of their first eight, but they seemed to hit the wall at the beginning of May. They’ve only won five of their last thirteen, and while that run did include a memorable 3-2 win over LAFC two games ago, that highlight was followed by a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Portland. They have also lost all three road games against Eastern Conference contenders so far this season.
No Zlatan No Chance?
Bookmakers seem keen to take on Galaxy ahead of this game, and not just because they were beaten so comprehensively in Portland. The absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has accumulated a yellow card suspension, is huge, and Galaxy will also be missing Diego Polenta and Efrain Alvarez, who were sent off in Portland. Galaxy fans can back their side at odds of 13/2, with the draw rated as a 4/1 shot, and Atlanta pencilled in as the strong favourites at 4/11.