Scouting Atlanta United’s next opponent: Nashville

Credit: MLS

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The Five Stripes’ offense, inconsistent most of the season, finished with 12 shots, five on goal, in 2-2 draw against Nashville.

Credit: MLS

Atlanta United will continue its MLS season Thursday at Nashville. The game is scheduled to start at 8:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on Bally Sports network.

Scouting Nashville

Coach: Gary Smith.

Record: 4-1-6.

Home record: 4-0-4.

Atlanta United away record: 0-3-3.

Formation: 3-5-1-1.

Goals for/against: 14/11.

Atlanta United goals for/against: 11/13.

Expected goals per game for Nashville/opponent this season: 1.27/1.00.

Expected goals per game for Atlanta United/opponent this season: 1.00/1.18.

Key players (the club will be without Walker Zimmerman, Alistair Johnson and Anibal Godoy)

Hany Mukhtar, midfielder/forward, 3 goals, 1 assist

Randall Leal, forward, 2 goals, 3 assists

CJ Sapong, midfielder, 2 goals, 1 assist

Jhonder Cadiz, forward, 2 goals, 1 assist

Luke Haakenson, midfielder, 2 goals

Dax McCarty, midfielder, 85.6 percent passer, 30.1 percent pressures

Key thoughts for Atlanta United

They are as they have always been: Atlanta United must score first. If it doesn’t, it is 1-25-5 when the hosts score first.

To score first, Atlanta United must create chances, something it hasn’t done a lot of in its three-game scoreless streak.

To create chances, it needs to find a spark in its midfield from someone who can get the ball to Josef Martinez, assuming he plays.

To keep Nashville from scoring, it needs to either refine or abandon the man-marking system that is causing self-inflicted damage in the past few games. It also must play as a team, which is going to be difficult considering that three-fifths of its starters on defense aren’t available because of international call-ups.

When a team is struggling to score, set-pieces always are a good spark. The problem for the team is, while it is the most fouled in the league, it has yet to score from a non-penalty kick free-kick this season.

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Atlanta United’s 2021 MLS schedule

April 17 Atlanta United 0, Orlando 0

April 24 Atlanta United 3, Chicago 1

May 1 New England 2, Atlanta United 1

May 9 Atlanta United 1, Inter Miami 1,

May 15 Atlanta United 1, Montreal 0

May 23 Atlanta United 1, Seattle 1

May 29 Atlanta United 2, Nashville 2

June 20 Atlanta United 2, Philadelphia 2

June 23 NYCFC 1, Atlanta United 0

June 27 Atlanta United 0, New York Red Bulls 0

July 3 Chicago 3, Atlanta United 0

July 8 at Nashville, 8:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

July 17 vs. New England, 5 p.m., ESPN

July 21 at Cincinnati, 8 p.m., FS1

July 24 vs. Columbus, 3:30 p.m., ABC

July 30 at Orlando, 8 p.m., ESPN

Aug. 4 at Montreal, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Aug. 7 at Columbus, 7:30 p.m. BSSO/BSSE

Aug. 15 vs. LAFC, 4 p.m. ESPN

Aug. 18 vs. Toronto, 7 p.m. BSSO/BSSE

Aug. 21 at D.C. United, 8 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Aug. 28 vs. Nashville, 3:30 p.m., Univision

Sept. 10 vs. Orlando, 7 p.m., FS1

Sept. 15 vs. Cincinnati, 7 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Sept. 18 vs. D.C. United, 3:30 p.m., Univision

Sept. 25 at Philadelphia,3:30 p.m., Univision

Sept. 29 vs. Inter Miami, 7 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Oct. 2 at Montreal, 7 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Oct. 16 at Toronto, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Oct. 20 vs. NYCFC, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Oct. 27 vs. Inter Miami, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Oct. 30 vs. Toronto, 6 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Nov. 3 at New York Red Bulls, TBD, BSSO/BSSE

Nov. 7 at Cincinnati, 3:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE