Two of the Eastern Conference's playoff contenders will face off at Yankee Stadium on Sunday afternoon as New York City FC host Atlanta United. Sunday will mark the first ever meeting between the teams with NYCFC in their third season while Atlanta are in their debut campaign.
The teams have set Major League Soccer alight this season, looking deadly in attack as both teams rank in the top three for goals scored.
New York City FC: The hosts will be without two key players yet again this week as Khiry Shelton remains sidelined with a hamstring injury, as does Ronald Matarrita who is nursing a high ankle sprain.
The injuries didn't seem to bother NYCFC last week as they beat the Columbus Crew 3-2, climbing to fourth in the Eastern Conference. The last five games have brought about mixed results, delivering three wins and two losses in that stretch.
Atlanta United: This may be the final week without Josef Martinez as the Venezuelan striker returned to training during the week, but he will miss out on Sunday's game. Jacob Peterson continues to miss out with a leg injury while Jeff Larentowicz is 50/50 with a concussion he suffered last weekend. Yamil Asad will be suspended for Sunday's game after catching an opposing player with his elbow last week.
Atlanta fell victim to a clinical D.C. United performance last week, losing 3-1 at home but the expansion side remain in sixth place in the Eastern Conference. Tata Martino's side have had plenty of ups and downs so far but continue to excite MLS fans everywhere in the process.
What to Watch For
David Villa is a name known to soccer fans all over the world and since his arrival in MLS, he's taken the league by storm. This season is no different with the 35-year old scoring five goals in his opening seven games. The Spaniard will aim to continue that good form against an Atlanta defense that has failed to keep a clean sheet in it's last four games.
Kenwyne Jones has scored a couple of goals in Josef Martinez's absence and has been his usual dominant self in aerial duels. The striker has another chance on Sunday to use his aerial ability against an NYCFC defense that isn't particularly on the tall side compared to Jones.
Both sides play exceptional attacking soccer at times and Sunday should provide plenty of excitement with the likes of Villa, Miguel Almiron and Jack Harrison on show at Yankee Stadium.