Following another disappointing defeat last time out, DC United are back in action on home soil on Saturday evening (7pm ET), as they face an Atlanta United side that has also struggled to come out on top in recent times. A win for either side would be huge, but can either get the job done?
Read on for our MLS game betting preview and DC United vs Atlanta predictions with picks.
Close but not close enough
It was a case of same old, same old for DC last time out, as they fought hard, kept themselves in the contest for a long time, but just didn’t have enough to get over the line, especially in the final third. It is now five matches without a win for Ben Olsen’s men, who remain bottom of the pile in the east.
It’s not that they’re getting heavily beaten, far from it but DC are really struggling to turn OK performances into points. They’re right there in matches, as was the case against both Nashville and New England, but they just can’t seem to do the right thing at key moments. Something needs to change if they’re to stand a chance of getting anywhere near the play-offs, which given that that’s exactly where they’ve been in the last two seasons, is where they’ll want to end up.
Lack of end-product
Being tough to break down and staying in the fight are both admirable qualities, though when put together with a lack of end-product, such qualities pale into insignificance somewhat. Trouble in the final third is exactly what DC have experienced in recent times. They failed to find the net against New England last time out, while they also couldn’t score against Nashville prior to that. Without running riot, DC were quietly the better team for over an hour against New England. They looked comfortable and in control, though they were not able to create high-quality chances, which is becoming something of an issue. Not only have DC scored just two goals in their last five matches, but they have created just 3.2 expected goals. This tells us that, based on everything they’ve created, that another goal would’ve been merited, but it also shows that they’ve been poor in terms of creativity. Being worthy of three goals in over 450 minutes of soccer is nothing to shout about.
Five Stripes easy to beat?
Like DC, Atlanta come into this fixture off the back of a weak result. The Five Stripes slumped to defeat away against Chicago Fire, while they have now lost four of their last five. On their travels, Frank De Boer’s men have been particularly easy to get the better, losing each of their last three away games. Creating less than their opponents on average has been the issue. Atlanta have created 4.5 expected goals for in their four regular season matches since MLS action resumed, which isn’t dreadful, but it doesn’t exactly stand up well against 6.8 expected goals conceded.
Atlanta’s attacking woes
Again, like Saturday’s hosts, Atlanta have been struggling to get going offensively, especially in their last couple of matches. They failed to find the target last time out and have now gone three matches without scoring more than once. After the departure of key players in recent times, it is now very much a case of “where are the goals coming from?”
A fixture for the hosts
In general, this is a fixture that tends to favor the hosts. When the pair last met, Atlanta won at home, while they have won each of the two renewals at Audi Field. In fact, since Atlanta entered MLS back in 2017, there has been only one away win in eight meetings. Of the five matches at Saturday’s venue, DC have won four out of four, most recently winning 2-0 in 2019.
What do the early odds suggest?
A quick glance at the early betting ahead of this fixture tells us that it really could go either way, with both teams currently priced around the +165 mark on the moneyline. Neither has flourished of late, while both have several defects, so it’s certainly a very tough game to call.
Rather than siding with either team to come out on top, the bet that looks appealing at the prices is over 2.5 goals. Now, we are talking about two teams who have struggled to score goals at late, but given their struggles both teams must be looking at this as a big opportunity to regain some scoring form, which could mean that we see plenty of going for it at Audi Field.
Moreover, defensively, both teams have been struggling somewhat. DC have conceded at least twice in each of their last three at home, while Atlanta have shipped eight in their last three on the road. If we combine those six matches, an average of 3.16 goals have been scored. Additionally, neither team is shaping up well in terms of shots conceded. Atlanta have surrendered an average of 11 shots per 90 away from home since the resumption of the regular season, while DC have conceded a mammoth average of 14.6 on their own patch. Such numbers don’t exactly point towards a low-scoring affair. So the conclusion of our DC United vs Atlanta predictions is this betting pick: