On Saturday, MLS action will begin with New York City FC hosting Atlanta United at Yankee Stadium with an opportunity for NYCFC to leap the Five Stipes in the Supporters' Shield race and find themselves atop of the aforementioned table.
This is the second meeting between these two sides in 2018 as Mercedes-Benz Stadium played host to these Eastern Conference juggernauts back in April. On that day, the points were split despite an early injury which pushed Ismael Tajouri-Shradi off the pitch.
In his place came David Villa who gave the visitors the equalizer they needed to crawl back in the match following Greg Garza's goal at the half-hour mark. Atlanta then thought they regained the lead moments later but after a quick check with VAR the goal was controversially taken away.
It was Chris McCann who later equalized just to see Alex Ring hit a blast from quite some distance to once again level the score. Wth everything to play for, NYCFC and Atlanta will both be in search of all three points.
New York City FC: A team that struggled with injuries for a while last season has escaped that memory with a fairly healthy roster in the early stages of the 2018 season. However, reports coming out that Yangel Herrera will likely miss the remainder of the season following an ankle injury he had picked up a few weeks prior has fans fearing for the worst. Due to the Venezuelan's absence, fans are expecting to see Ebenezer Ofori more frequently.
On top of that, Cedric Hountondji picked up an injury in a Hudson River beatdown midweek in the U.S. Open Cup. On top of crashing out of the tournament, the club saw Hountondji leave the field with an apparent hamstring injury.
Atlanta United: As for Saturday's visitors, they're also going to be missing a pair of players with the possibility of missing Designated player, Tito Villalba in addition. Greg Garza, who picked up a goal in the April meeting, has since picked up an injury which required surgery and will give him a long recovery period.
In addition, Chris McCann, who also found himself on the scoresheet in April, will miss the game as well as he continues to recover from a left lower extremity injury.
Following NYCFC's match on Saturday, they'll remain at home and host defending MLS champions, Toronto FC. Then, they'll head on the road to take on Nemanja Nikolic and the Chicago Fire before returning home to meet with Hudson River rivals, New York Red Bulls.
For Saturday's visitors, they head to MapFre Stadium to take on the Columbus Crew before hosting the Chicago Fire in a U.S. Open Cup match. Then they'll welcome a high-flying Portland Timbers team to Mercedes-Benz Stadium to put their skills to the test.
How to Watch
When: 12:30 PM
Where: Yankee Stadium
Broadcast: DIRECTV, YES Network, Fox Sports South, ESPN+