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MLS game of the week: D.C. United at Atlanta United

Profile Picture: Donald Wine

July 19th, 2019

Major League Soccer's game of the week is a No. 2 vs. No. 3 battle that is always a great matchup. Atlanta United and D.C. United will go at it once again to try and secure sole possession of second place in the Eastern Conference standings.

D.C. United at Atlanta United, Sunday, 4 p.m. ET, ESPN

(Atlanta United -180, D.C. United +420, Draw +320)

MLS free pick: D.C. United

Atlanta United has been doing its best to creep up toward the top of the Eastern Conference standings after a terrible start to the season. Lately Atlanta has been up-and-down in its form, with a horrible loss against the Chicago Fire and then a blowout victory Wednesday night against the Houston Dynamo. Josef Martinez is back to his goal-scoring ways, with 15 so far on the season. Atlanta will need all the creativity in the middle and up front against D.C. United. Pity Martinez will have to show some flair in the middle, and the defense has to play like it did against Houston. A victory will show that the early season form was an aberration, and the defending champions should be considered the team to beat down the stretch.

D.C. United has had draws in five of its last seven matches. While the club is getting points, it has been losing ground in the conference. After a terrific start that had D.C. at the top in the East for the first couple months of the season, the squad has dropped to third and is seeking to regain its form. Wayne Rooney has been leading the charge for the black and red, and Luciano Acosta is expected to be back after he missed two games on red card suspension. With Paul Arriola back in the mix, D.C. could have its first-choice lineup in place after resting several guys against FC Cincinnati on Thursday night. That scoring will be needed, and the midfield will have to maintain possession to keep the ball away from Atlanta's creative players.

D.C. United, since Atlanta entered the league, has won four of six head-to-head matchups. Atlanta somehow can't get past that mental roadblock, and that will show Sunday afternoon. Wayne Rooney (+135) will lead the way with a brace, including one from the penalty spot (+900) and it's a 3-1 victory (+3850) for D.C. United.




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