Mon, 02 Oct 2023

Atlanta United seek victory without drama at Los Angeles FC

Field Level Media
07 Jun 2023, 10:40 GMT+10

Atlanta United will look to extend their unbeaten streak and avoid more late drama when they visit Los Angeles FC on Wednesday.

Atlanta (6-4-6, 24 points) has made a habit of late strikes, as 12 of the Five Stripes' 32 goals have come after the 75th minute.

In a 3-3 draw with the New England Revolution last Wednesday, Atlanta United trailed 2-0 through 55 minutes before scoring three times, with Miguel Berry's 87th-minute tally putting the Five Stripes ahead. Atlanta couldn't hold the lead, as New England's Carles Gil scored three minutes into extra time.

Though Atlanta extended its unbeaten streak to four games (1-0-3), a late concession again hurt the team in "the minutes where it really counts the most," Berry said.

"There's many moments in the game where we defended very well," Berry said. "Obviously, you don't see those at the end of the game, you see the goals you concede. It's just about ... eliminating mistakes."

Los Angeles (7-1-4, 25 points) got some late magic in its last MLS game. Carlos Vela scored on a penalty kick five minutes into second-half stoppage time for a 2-1 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes on May 20.

Since that result, LAFC has fallen short in two nonleague competitions. After being eliminated by the LA Galaxy in the U.S. Open Cup, Los Angeles FC lost both legs of the CONCACAF Champions League final to Mexican side Leon.

LAFC coach Steve Cherundolo admitted "it's a little awkward" pivoting to an important game against Atlanta just three days after the CCL Final. But, Cherundolo said, "I don't think (the loss) will knock us down. Obviously, we're disappointed and it hurts, and it should."

Los Angeles FC are 2-0-1 in their last three MLS games.

Giorgio Chiellini, Aaron Long, Kellyn Acosta and Jesus Murillo all returned from injury layoffs on Sunday, so all could be available to face the Five Stripes. Defender Sergi Palencia is questionable after leaving Sunday's game with an apparent leg injury.

Amar Sejdic (calf injury) and Caleb Wiley (international duty) are expected to be available for Atlanta.

--Field Level Media

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