Atlanta United-D.C. United Preview
Atlanta United's new designated player Marcelino Moreno will still be unavailable when the Florida side take on DC United this weekend, interim coach Stephen Glass has confirmed.
Moreno signed for from Argentine club Lanus on September 22, yet has been unable to train fully with his team-mates due to the MLS' stringent coronavirus protocols.
It means Atlanta will be without their new player once again for the clash with DC, but Glass, who took over from Frank de Boer in July, is hoping to have the midfielder available for the meeting with New York Red Bulls on October 10.
"He's here and we're looking forward to getting him on the grass when we can start working with him," Glass said told reporters.
"I think at the moment we're hopeful that the Red Bull game is real, that that target is there. I don't see any reason why not with the length of time that he's been in the country. That would be great.
"The club's been very diligent and we're doing everything we can and he'll be ready when he's ready. The Red Bull game is a realistic target and I think that will happen."
DC sit bottom of the Eastern Conference, with Ben Olsen's job looking like it is on the line, though a win on Saturday would take them level on points with Atlanta.
It is not all doom and gloom, with young trio Moses Nyeman, Kevin Paredes and Griffin Low having all drawn praise from United States coach Gregg Berhalter.
"Yes I have had conversations with Gregg," Olsen told reporters. "I think that's a good message to young players that in this league, that if you do well, that you're going to be put on his radar. I don't think he'll be afraid to give kids a shot."
DC United - Ola Kamara
Kamara has only scored twice in 2020, but DC need their striker to step up if they are to make a charge up the table, and possibly save Olsen's job. His last goal got DC up and running against Toronto FC on September 20, but the match ultimately finished 2-2.
Atlanta United - Brad Guzan
Neither side have been close to their best going forward recently, and Saturday's clash could be settled by a narrow margin. For Atlanta, goalkeeper Guzan could be key. The shot-stopper is due a clean sheet, having kept just one in the last six games.
•The last seven meetings between DC and Atlanta have been won by the home team, with both sides winning 2-0 on their own grounds during the 2019 season.
•Atlanta have lost all four of their visits to DC in their MLS history, the only team they've visited more than once without ever collecting a point.
•DC have taken just 11 points from their first 14 matches this season, equaling their second-worst point total at this stage of an MLS season (six points in 2013).
•Atlanta's 2-0 defeat to Chicago Fire on Sunday was their third straight away defeat. They have now lost 11 of their last 17 regular-season away matches (W4 D2) dating back to May 2019.
•Only 9 per cent of DC's goals this season have been scored before half-time, the lowest percentage in MLS.
Updated October 2, 2020