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May 19, 2023 9:23 pm

Atlanta United take aim at road struggles vs. Fire

It’s been two months since Atlanta United won consecutive MLS contests — and longer since they experienced victory on the road.

Meanwhile, the inability to hold leads remains an issue for the Chicago Fire.

Atlanta looks to build on a needed victory by trying to sweep the season series from the Fire, who aim to remain unbeaten at home on Saturday night.

On April 23, Atlanta (6-4-3, 21 points) benefited from a Chicago own goal in the ninth minute of second-half stoppage time to win 2-1. However, Atlanta followed by being outscored 10-4 during a four-game skid over all competitions before Wednesday’s 4-0 home win over the Colorado Rapids.

While Atlanta regained the offensive form that’s produced a league-high 25 goals, perhaps more importantly it recorded a clean sheet for the first time since April 1.

“We know our forwards have amazing talent, and we know we’re going to score goals,” Brooks Lennon, who had two assists Wednesday, told Atlanta’s official website. “So, if we can get clean sheets, we’re going to be a dangerous team.”

Atlanta, though, has won two straight matches just once this season — on March 11 and 18 as part of its 3-0-1 start. It’s 0-3-2 away from home since winning that March 11 road opener, 3-0 at Charlotte FC.

Meanwhile, Chicago (3-4-5, 14 points) is 1-3-2 over its last six MLS matches, but aims for a third straight overall win at home, where it’s 4-0-5 in all competitions this season (2-0-5 in MLS play). However, the Fire couldn’t make a first-half goal from Kacper Przybylko (three goals in 2023) stand by conceding twice in the final 20-plus minutes of Wednesday’s 2-1 loss at Charlotte.

According to MLS, Chicago is a league-worst minus-8 in second-half goal differential.

“We have to go out there and try to be consistent from the first minute all the way to the 90th minute,” Fire midfielder Federico Navarro said.

Przybylko scored versus Atlanta United in April, and has six goals with two assists during seven matches against them over all competitions.

Meanwhile, Atlanta’s Giorgos Giakoumakis scored one of his six MLS goals versus Chicago this season. He and teammate Thiago Almada (six goals in 2023) also scored Wednesday.

–Field Level Media

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