Atlanta United (11-8-9) will host Miami (8-14-4) at 5 p.m. Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Kickoff will be at 5:09 p.m. The game will be televised on Apple TV. You can sync the radio broadcast from 92.9 FM through the app.
Miami manager: Gerardo Martino
Miami on road: 3-9-1
Atlanta United at home: 8-3-3
Miami goals for/against: 30/39
Miami expected goals for/against: 25.6/38.5
Miami past five league matches: L-W-T-W-W
Atlanta United goals for/against: 51/43
Atlanta United expected goals for/against: 39.1/34.4
Atlanta United past five matches: L-W-W-L-T
Miami key players
Lionel Messi: One goal, two assists, but really ...
Leo Campana: Seven goals, two assists
Josef Martinez: Six goals, one assist
Ben Cremaschi: One goals, four assists
Atlanta United key players
Thiago Almada: Nine goals, 14 assists
Giorgos Giakoumakis: 13 goals, two assists
Caleb Wiley: Four goals, two assists
Brooks Lennon: Three goals, nine assists
1. Will Messi play. All signs point to yes. Messi didn’t make the bench for Argentina in its World Cup qualifying match at Bolivia. That means he won’t have played a match in more than a week by the time Saturday’s match starts. Miami is unbeaten when Messi has played. It needs every point it can get to make the playoffs.
2. Will Atlanta United’s standouts play. Atlanta United had six players called up to their national teams. Giorgos Giakoumakis returned from playing with Greece on Tuesday and trained with the team. Thiago Almada returned from playing with Argentina on Tuesday. He missed Tuesday’s training. The remaining players, Miles Robinson, Derrick Etienne, Luis Abram and Saba Lobjanidze, resumed training Wednesday or Thursday. Manager Gonzalo Pineda said they are good to go for Saturday.
3. Homecomings. Martino, who led Atlanta United to the 2018 MLS Cup, and Martinez, who was named MLS MVP that season, will be at Mercedes-Benz Stadium with Miami. Martino, with Mexico, has coached in the stadium since leaving the club. It will be his first time back with another MLS team. It will be Martinez’s first time back as a player since he was traded to Miami before the season. Only two players remain on Atlanta United from that 2018 squad: Brad Guzan and Miles Robinson.
REF: Jair Marrufo
AR1: Corey Rockwell
AR2: Cameron Blanchard
4TH: Nima Saghafi
VAR: Edvin Jurisevic
AVAR: TJ Zablocki
Out: Ozzie Alonso (leg).
What was said
“Just not giving him space. It’s a tough one to answer to be honest. We all know who he is and what he’s capable of doing. But you just have to think on his level, think two, three seconds before you’re usually thinking. He’s already thinking way before we’re thinking, so staying on your toes, expecting what he’s going to do and stuff like that.” – Wiley on Messi
“It’s the city and a club that I have a lot of love for.” – Martino said of Atlanta and Atlanta United
“We have seen Inter Miami the last few games. Yeah, we know exactly how they play. We know exactly how we play, and we know exactly what type of game it’s going to be.” – Pineda
“We’ve got to get closer to guys. We’ve got to get a lot closer. We’ve got to effect the ball, effect the play. We need to do a lot of things different than what we did the first time we played them.” – Brad Guzan
Atlanta United’s predicted 11
Goalkeeper Brad Guzan
Centerback Luis Abram
Centerback Miles Robinson
Right fullback Brooks Lennon
Left fullback Caleb Wiley
Defensive midfielder Matheus Rossetto
Midfielder Tristan Muyumba
Attacking midfielder Thiago Almada
Winger Xande Silva
Winger Saba Lobjanidze
Striker Giorgos Giakoumakis