Will Atlanta United make the MLS playoffs?

Atlanta United is in 11th place in the MLS Eastern Conference. The top 10 teams will compete in playoffs.

While not preferred, the team isn’t a bad place. The Five Stripes trail 10th-place Chicago by one point and eighth place Montreal by two points. However, they are three points ahead of last place D.C. United. The team has nine games remaining, including four against the teams below it in the standings.

Making the playoffs won’t be easy. The team has yet to win more than two consecutive games. It has scored 13 goals in 14 games, which is close to its expected goals of 13.3. It has allowed 18, close to its expected goals of 20.6.

While it may get a boost at some point from Marcelino Moreno, it is still waiting on the return of Ezequiel Barco, Jurgen Damm, Miles Robinson and and Matheus Rossetto from injuries.

Here’s a look at the remaining schedule:

D.C. United

Dates: Saturday at D.C. United; Oct. 24 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Record (points): 2-7-5; 11

Home/away points: 6/5

Current form: D-L-D-L-L

Previous meetings this season: No meetings

Key players:

Ola Kamara, 2 goals, 17 shots, 7 on target;

Julian Gressel, 1 goal, 10 shots, 2 on target;

Bill Hamid, 14 goals against;

Expected goals for/against: 11.3/21.2

Actual goals for/against: 11/20

Prediction: Despite mostly years of mediocrity, Ben Olsen remains the team’s manager. He hasn’t been helped by injuries to numerous players and a lack of performance from many more. Still, this is a city where Atlanta United has never won.


Dates: Oct. 7 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium; Oct. 28 at Exploria Stadium

Record (points): 7-2-5; 26

Home/away points: 14/12

Current form: D-W-W-W-D

Previous meetings this season:

3-1 loss at home on Aug. 29;

1-1 draw away on Sept. 5

Key players:

Chris Mueller, 7 goals, 21 shots, 12 on target, 4 assists;

Nani, 4 goals, 36 shots, 11 on target, 4 assists;

Maurico Pereyra, 2 goals, 2 assists

Expected goals for/against: 18.5/16.8

Actual goals for/against: 25/15

Prediction: Orlando still has yet to defeat Atlanta United in Florida. It may need to secure the highest possible seed in the season’s next-to-last game. Orlando is a very good team this season that plays a style that Atlanta United has difficulty neutralizing.

New York Red Bulls

Date: Oct.10 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Record (points): 6-6-2; 20

Home/away points: 9/11

Current form: L-W-L-W-W

Previous meetings this season:

1-0 loss in Orlando on July 11;

Key players:

Daniel Royer, 4 goals, 27 shots, 8 on target;

Tom Barlow, 2 goals, 21 shots, 12 on target;

Kaku, 2 goals, 13 shots, 5 on target, 3 assists;

Expected goals for/against: 18.2/18/9

Actual goals for/against: 17/16

Prediction: Atlanta United has still yet to defeat Red Bulls during the regular season. You may have heard that before. Red Bulls will press and press and Atlanta United hasn’t show the speed or imagination consistently this season to show that it can beat a team using that tactic.

Inter Miami

Date: Oct. 14 in Fort Lauderdale

Record (points): 3-9-2; 11

Home/away points: 7/4

Current form: W-L-W-L-L

Previous meetings this season:

0-0 draw at home on Sept. 2;

2-1 loss away on Sept. 9;

2-1 loss at home on Sept. 19;

Key players:

Rodolfo Pizarro, 3 goals, 21 shots, 9 on target;

Gonzalo Higuain, former Juventus player, among clubs he’s played for;

Blaise Matuidi, former Juventus player, among clubs he’s played for;

Expected goals for/against: 18.1/18

Actual goals for/against: 12/22

Prediction: If Higuain plays, Atlanta United is going to have a tough time getting points. Miami has proven to be a tough three points for the team in the previous meetings. It’s hard to see that changing, especially with the talent Miami has added.


Date: Oct. 18 in Hartford, Conn.

Record (points): 8-2-4; 28

Home/away points: 14/14

Current form: L-W-D-W-W

Previous meetings this season: No meetings

Key players:

Alejandro Pozuelo, 6 goals, 34 shots, 13 on target;

Ayo Akinola, 6 goals, 21 shots, 14 on target;

Richie Laryea, 4 goals, 8 shots, 6 on target;

Expected goals for/against: 25.5/13.4

Actual goals for/against: 24/15

Prediction: A team that has had Atlanta United’s number away from Mercedes-Benz Stadium. It’s hard to see this happening again in what will be the team’s longest travel trip this season. Toronto has so much firepower going forward and Atlanta United hasn’t shown a consistent ability to handle that.


Date: Nov. 1 at Nippert Stadium

Record (points): 3-7-4; 13

Home/away points: 7/6

Current form: L-L-W-D-L

Previous meetings this season:

2-1 win at home on March 7;

1-0 loss in Orlando on July 16;

Key players:

Yuya Kubo, 2 goals, 14 shots, 5 on target;

Jurgen Locadia, 1 goal, 32 shots, 8 on target;

Frankie Amaya, 1 goal, 14 shots, 4 on target;

Expected goals for/against: 13.5/17.2

Actual goals for/against: 8/21

Prediction: Atlanta United needed moments of brilliance from Josef Martinez to defeat Cincinnati last year at Nippert. Martinez won’t be playing.


Date: November 8 in Ohio

Record (points): 9-2-3; 30

Home/away points: 21/9

Current form: W-D-W-W-L

Previous meetings this season: 1-0 loss in Orlando on July 21

Key players:

Gyasi Zardes, 9 goals, 23 shots, 14 on target;

Lucas Zelarayan, 5 goals, 17 shots, 8 on target;

Darlington Nagbe, 93.8 passing percentage, 2.12 shot creation actions per game;

Expected goals for/against: 18.6/13.9

Actual goals for/against: 23/8

Prediction: Any points will be difficult

Final tally predictions

4 of 6 points against D.C. United

0 of 6 against Orlando

0 of 3 against Red Bulls

0 of 3 against Miami

0 of 3 against Toronto

1 of 3 against Cincinnati

0 of 3 against Columbus

5 points from the rest of this season’s games.

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