New York City FC face tough task in Atlanta
Ebenezer Ofori and David Villa celebrating a goal vs. Real Salt Lake. |Photo: New York City FC

On Sunday, New York City FC will likely be given their most difficult challenge of the season as they head to Mercedes-Benz Stadium to play Atlanta United. The visitors will really be putting their unbeaten start to the season to the test.

Midweek, NYCFC hosted Real Salt Lake and came out victors with the scoreline reading 4-0 at the final whistle. They'll be happy as both David Villa and Alex Ring returned to the team but with just three days between that game and Sunday, they may experience some fatigue.

Past Meetings

The two sides met twice in Atlanta's 2017 expansion season with the home side coming out victorious by a scoreline of 3-1 on both occasions. David Villa led the way in the first game opening up the scoring but was helped heavily by Rodney Wallace and Maxi Moralez.

In the second game, in Atlanta, the hosts were up three goals by the 23rd minute and looked unstoppable. They ended up taking their foot off the gas pedal but Jack Harrison's 71st-minute goal was nothing other than consolation and ATL won 3-1.

Team News

New York City FC: As mentioned earlier, both David Villa and Alex Ring returned to action midweek and have their first opportunity to start in nearly a month. Ronald Matarrita also had an impressive display against Real Salt Lake, his first time going 90 minutes this season. Unfortunately, Kwame Awauh who is recovering from a knee injury denies NYCFC the chance of a clean slate, but they'll be happy with the players they have available.

Ronald Matarrita vs. Real Salt Lake. | Photo: New york City FC
Ronald Matarrita vs. Real Salt Lake. | Photo: New York City FC

Atlanta United: Just the one injury for NYCFC, Five Stripes supporters are probably wishing that was the same for them. MLS' most expensive signing, Ezequiel Barco, returned to training but will not be in the 18 man squad on Sunday. Franco Escobar will also miss out on the squad as he recovers from a head injury.

Jose Hernandez who is recovering from a quad strain and Mitch Hildebrandt with a left knee sprain will also miss the match. Finally, Greg Garza will finish the injury report as he continues to recover from a right shoulder injury.

What's Next?

For NYCFC, if they're still unbeaten after the final whistle on Sunday, they'll look to keep that streak alive at Providence Park when they pay the Portland Timbers a visit. Then, they'll return home to host FC Dallas before the first Hudson River Derby of the season vs the New York Red Bulls.

Sunday's host will turn their attention to Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the LA Galaxy following Sunday's game. After their visit to Los Angeles, they'll host the Montreal Impact before going back on the road to face the Chicago Fire.

How to Watch

When: Sunday, April 15 at 6 PM EST

Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Broadcast: fuboTV, Fox Sports 1 USA, Fox Sports Go, FOX Deportes, FOX Soccer Match Pass