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Apr 5, 2024 12:46 pm

Atlanta aims to halt road woes in visit to NYCFC

Giorgos Giakoumakis

Atlanta United have yet to score a goal on the road this season as they visit a New York City FC squad playing the opener of a five-game homestand.

Making matters worse is that Atlanta will be without leading scorer Giorgos Giakoumakis when it seeks its first road win of the campaign on Saturday night at Citi Field.

Giakoumakis sustained a bone bruise in his right knee during last weekend’s 3-0 home win over the Chicago Fire. An MRI exam detected the extent of the injury and coach Gonzalo Pineda revealed Thursday that his star striker will sit out Saturday.

Giakoumakis scored his fifth goal of the season in the match against Chicago. Jamal Thiare scored the other two for Atlanta United (3-2-0, nine points).

The Five Stripes came up empty in their previous two road matches, falling 1-0 to the Columbus Crew on Feb. 24 and 2-0 to Toronto FC on March 23.

Pineda is placing a high priority on winning Saturday’s match.

“The objective is to win this one so we can get two points per game,” Pineda said. “With that, we kind of make up for the other two games that we didn’t win away.

“The formula of winning at home and tying, at least, away is a good formula to get in the top four and compete for the (Supporters) Shield.”

New York City FC (1-4-1, four points) are off to a poor start but could make up ground during the homestand that includes three matches at Citi Field and two at Yankee Stadium.

NYCFC’s lone victory this season was a 2-1 defeat of Toronto FC on March 16 at Yankee Stadium.

NYCFC doesn’t play its next road match until May 11, and coach Nick Cushing doesn’t want his players getting too comfortable about the friendly scheduling.

“We know that home games give you an advantage,” he said. “The stats say that home advantage is important in our league, but I also think it is a little bit dangerous to think of it as a five-game home stretch because it’s one game really — it’s Atlanta.

“We want to focus on one game and after that, we’ll move on to the next game.”

NYCFC recorded a 1-1 road tie against Inter Miami CF last weekend. Alonso Martinez scored NYCFC’s goal.

The teams tied twice last season — 1-1 at Yankee Stadium on April 8 and 2-2 at Atlanta on June 21.

–Field Level Media

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