Scouting Atlanta United’s next opponent: Philadelphia

October 24, 2019 Atlanta: Atlanta United midfielder Ezequiel Barco works against Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference semifinals of the MLS playoffs on Thursday, October 24, 2019, in Atlanta.   Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com
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October 24, 2019 Atlanta: Atlanta United midfielder Ezequiel Barco works against Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference semifinals of the MLS playoffs on Thursday, October 24, 2019, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: ccompton@ajc.com

Atlanta United will continue its 2021 MLS season Sunday, hosting Philadelphia. The game is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN.

Scouting Philadelphia

Coach: Jim Curtin

Record: 4-2-2

Away record: 2-0-1

Atlanta United home record: 2-0-1

Formation: 4-4-2

Goals for/against: 9/5

Atlanta United goals for/against: 9/7

Expected goals per game for Philadelphia/opponent this season: 1.43/1.39

Expected goals per game for Atlanta United/opponent this season: 1.16/1.46

Key players

Kacper Przybylko, forward, 3 goals, 2 assists

Cory Burke, forward, 2 goals, 1 assist

Jamiro Monteiro, midfield, 3 assists, 20 key passes

Kai Wagner, defender, 2 assists

Andre Blake, goalkeeper, 30 saves, 85.7 save percentage

Alejandro Bedoya, midfield, 15 key passes

Key thoughts for Atlanta United

This is going to be tough for the Five Stripes for a lot of reasons.

No Josef Martinez, who is with Venezuela. Expect to see Erick Torres.

No Emerson Hyndman, who is out after sustaining a torn ACL. Expect to see Franco Ibarra.

A Philadelphia team that rope-a-doped them at home 3-0 in their last Champions League meeting at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in the first leg of the Champions League series. Philadelphia knocked out Atlanta United.

You can argue that Atlanta United has more talent than Philadelphia but the Union are a better team. It has been drilled in Curtin’s tactics for years.

Atlanta United is learning what manager Gabriel Heinze wants. Just went it seemed that it was starting to show signs of understanding and execution in its last game, a 2-2 draw with Nashville, the international break came ad with it the news about Martinez and Hyndman.

Now, it doesn’t feel like the team is starting over but it kind of feels like the team is starting over.