Atlanta United has fallen from its perch in the recent past and has struggled to replicate its impressive exploits from the previous MLS season. The Five Stripes are yet to win a game in this truncated MLS tournament and will want to open their account tomorrow.
Columbus Crew, on the other hand, has been in sensational form over the past few weeks. The Ohio-based side has been scoring goals for fun and has also managed to solve the defensive issues that plagued its campaign last year.
Columbus can seal qualification to the knockout stages of the competition with a victory and will want to stamp its authority on Group E with a third consecutive victory.
Atlanta United vs Columbus Crew Head-to-Head
Atlanta United has a better record over the Columbus Crew and has won five of the eight fixtures between the two sides. Columbus has often been a thorn in Atlanta's side and has scored an average of 1.5 goals against the Five Stripes in MLS fixtures.
The Columbus Crew held all the cards in this fixture last year and recorded 3-1 and 2-0 victories over formidable Atlanta sides. The Black and Gold have been prolific in the final third this season and will look to put Atlanta under pressure right from the get-go.
Atlanta United form guide in the MLS: W-W-L-L
Columbus Crew form guide in the MLS: W-D-W-W
Atlanta United vs Columbus Crew Team News
Atlanta United has been unable to pick up a single point in the MLS tournament so far and star forward Josef Martinez's injury has served as a massive blow to the home side's campaign.
The Venezuelan record-breaker scored in 15 consecutive games last season but will miss the entirety of the MLS 2020 tournament due to an injury to his anterior cruciate ligament. Jake Mulraney picked up a red card over the weekend and will also miss this fixture.
Injured: Josef Martinez
Suspended: Jerome Williams, Jake Mulraney
The Columbus Crew was not particularly listed as a heavyweight at the start of the tournament but has proved critics and sceptics wrong with some exceptional performances.
Gyasi Zardes and Lucas Zelarayan have formed a lethal partnership for the Crew and Atlanta may well find the attacking combination too hot to handle at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Ohio-based outfit's squad is at full strength with the exception of centre-back Vito Wormgoor.
Injured: Vito Wormgoor
Atlanta United vs Columbus Crew Predicted XI
Atlanta United Predicted XI (3-4-3): Brad Guzan; Fernando Meza, Miles Robinson, Franco Escobar; George Bello, Emerson Hyndman, Mohammed Adams, Brooks Lennon; Gonzalo Martinez, Matheus Rossetto, Manuel Castro
Columbus Crew Predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Eloy Room; Hector Jimenez, Josh Williams, Jonathan Mensah, Christopher Cadden; Darlington Nagbe, Sebastian Berhalter; Derrick Etienne, Lucas Zelarayan, Pedro Santos; Gyasi Zardes
Atlanta United vs Columbus Crew Prediction
Columbus Crew has scored six goals in its past two games and with the likes of Gyasi Zardes and Darlington Nagbe in red-hot form, Atlanta United will struggle to make an impact in the middle of the pitch.
Atlanta cannot afford yet another defeat and will have to hope that Matheus Rossetto and Gonzalo Martinez make up for the loss of Josef Martinez and step up to the task against the Crew. The Five Stripes have the home advantage but are unlikely to get the better of an in-form Columbus Crew side.
Prediction: Atlanta United 0-2 Columbus Crew
Published 21 Jul 2020, 15:28 IST