The Union just keeps rolling and rolling. Another team comes into Subaru Park and leaves with a thorough ass whooping. This time, it was Orlando City who drew the short straw, losing a 5-1 affair shortly after winning the US open cup mid-week. Orlando gave the Union some fits to start the game, but the Union opened the scoring off a deflected cross from Olivier Mbaizo. Mikael Uhre put a great through ball home from Daniel Gazdag to push the lead to 2-0.
In the second half, Daniel Gazdag converted a penalty that was upheld after VAR to make it 3-0. Shortly after that, Alejandro Bedoya went full superman extension to head one home and push the lead to 4-0. Orlando gets one back around the seventy-fifth minute to make it 4-1 and potentially have the game open up. Jack Elliot put the game absolutely to rest in the eighty-sixth minute on a free header from a Kai Wagner corner kick and finish out the game 5-1. Another dominant game from the boys in blue.
Union at Atlanta Preview
The team now turns their attention to a familiar team in Atlanta United. The Union is only about a few weeks removed from their 4-1 home win at the end of August at Subaru Park. We know how well the Union has been doing since then, but how have Atlanta United been since that game? Let us take a look at how they’ve been doing since then and to this point in the season, the player to watch out for, and the prediction for Saturday afternoon’s matchup.
2022 MLS Season
Atlanta United has had a very rough season to put it lightly, at least in their eyes and to their always high expectations. It has been tough for this team to truly keep a consistent run of form, and the past few games has been no different. After losing to the Union 4-1 at Subaru Park, Atlanta went across the country to Portland where they dropped a 2-1 result on national TV which saw a dustup after the game between star striker Josef Martinez and head coach Gonzalo Pineda. This led to Josef being suspended for the following game, which was a 4-2 victory over Toronto FC.
This game was saved by a hat trick from center-back Juan Purata. To this point in the season, through thirty games, Atlanta has amassed a record of 9-12-9 for nine wins, twelve losses, and nine draws. This record is good for 10th place and thirty-six points. Their playoff hopes are holding on by the absolute thinnest of margins and another loss would certainly put this team out of its misery and confirm their absence in the playoffs.
The player to watch out for is not the same one that I had in my last Atlanta preview article. There is a number of reasons for that but the player that the Union needs to watch out for is Mexican center-back Juan Jose Sanchez Purata. The center-back has six goals on the season in thirteen games played. The biggest threat that he poses is on set pieces as he can be dominant in the air against defenses that are not ready for it or are caught sleeping.
This is the biggest threat that he poses to the Union backline. He is prone to a few errors and occasionally one that may cost his team a goal in his own end. This is a player that the Union needs to constantly be aware of in the box to nullify that threat. We will see if the center-back pairing of Glesnes and Elliot can neutralize this aerial master.
The Union is absolutely firing on all cylinders. Winners of five in a row, they have been systematically taking teams down left and right at a time of the year where it pays to get hot. They are the team in form without question. This Union side is different from any other Union team of the past. They have a plus forty-six goal differential, which is unheard of at this point in the season.
The fact that they have tripled their goals for compared to goals against is something that you absolutely do not see every day. In terms of personnel changes, I do not anticipate any lineup changes from this Union side. They are rolling along right now and it feels tough to pick against them even on the road. Put me down for a 3-1 Union victory this weekend at the Benz. Game time on Saturday is 3:30 pm.
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Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire