Atlanta United-Revolution Preview
Gabriel Heinze has unwavering belief in how his Atlanta United side play, despite their 3-0 defeat to Philadelphia Union in the CONCACAF Champions League.
Atlanta's prospects of reaching the Champions League semi-finals look bleak after their heavy loss to the Union in the first leg of their quarter-final tie on Wednesday.
Before next week's second leg, Atlanta face New England Revolution on Saturday. United have won one and drawn one of their opening two MLS fixtures, with the team still adjusting under Heinze.
And despite the midweek loss, Heinze has full faith in his side.
"What makes me proud is to see how they understand the game," Heinze said. "If I'm honest, it is a pleasure to watch these guys play.
"I know it might be difficult to understand because of the result (on Wednesday), but I'll always say what I feel. I'm very proud of my players."
The Revs, meanwhile, beat D.C. United 1-0 last time out, with midfielder Wilfrid Kaptoum - a product of Barcelona's academy - impressing on his first home start.
"I think in training you can see that he can dribble out of things, and that's, I think, exactly what this team needs in that midfield role," Kaptoum's team-mate DeLaGarza said of the 24-year-old.
"I think, for me, he'll be one of the most special players on this team this year."
Like Atlanta, New England have four points from their two matches so far, having drawn 2-2 with Chicago Fire in their opening game.
New England Revolution - Gustavo Bou
Gustavo Bou also stood out for the Revs last week, having a team-high two efforts on goal and playing two key passes, combining well with Adam Buska up top.
Atlanta United - Ezequiel Barco
Atlanta's win over the Fire last time out in MLS featured a stunning goal from midfielder Ezequiel Barco, who - while Josef Martinez works his way back to form and fitness - could be crucial to United's attack.
-United star man Martinez has not scored in his two matches since returning from an ACL injury, though both games were as a substitute. Martinez has scored five times against the Revolution, tied with Nemanja Nikolic for the most against New England since Martinez joined MLS in 2017.
-The Revs have won an MLS-high 35 fouls this season. Carles Gil has won eight of those fouls, only three players have won more this season.
-Atlanta have won just one of its last 10 away matches (D3 L6) dating back to the regular season restart last August. They scored four goals in their lone win (at D.C. United) while scoring a total of seven goals in their other nine matches in that time.
-New England's 1-0 win over D.C. United on Saturday ended a run of four consecutive home matches without a clean sheet, including playoffs. The Revs had kept five clean sheets in their previous nine home matches.
-Atlanta are unbeaten in their seven MLS matches against New England (W5 D2), including playoff win in 2019, outscoring the Revs 16-3 in those matches. The Revs' 0.29 points per match against Atlanta is their fewest against any team in their MLS history.
Updated April 30, 2021