Matchday Preview: Atlanta United II (3/9)
Here's all the details you need to know about how to watch the game Saturday!
When: Saturday (3/9), 7:30 PM
How: ESPN+ (1wk free trial; $4.99/mo)
Where: Hooker Brewery at Colt (140 Huyshope Ave) or Fifth Third Bank Stadium, GA (because why not buy some last minute tix??!!)
The Opponent: Atlanta United II is the reserve team for the 2018 MLS cup winning squad. Last year was the inaugural season for Atlanta United II in the USL. They finished 14th in the Eastern Conference with a record of 7-10-17 overall and a woeful 31 pts. Their top three scorers from last season Jon Gallager, Lagos Kunga, & Romario Williams are all rostered on the MLS squad currently. Additionally, the team has made a coaching change from last season giving their former U-17 Academy coach, Stephen Glass, the reins for the USL squad this season. To attempt to replace their lost scoring, ATL UTD 2 have signed on loan Patrick Okonkwo, 20, who last season scored 5 goals in 24 appearances for the Charleston Battery.
Per this preview article, below are ATL UTD 2's players to watch:
D – Tyler Ruthven
Having already featured in Major League Soccer, the USL Championship and Europe over the course of his career, Tyler Ruthven returns to ATL UTD 2 after arriving at the club midway through the 2018 campaign. The 30-year-old Georgia native is going to be relied upon to provide experience for the club’s young core and will slot into a back line that will also include experience in the form of Jack Metcalf. After a tough inaugural season defensively, Ruthven’s influence is going to be key to the club’s improvement.
GK – Dylan Castanheira
A former standout at Columbia University, Dylan Castanheira broke the Ivy League’s single-season record for goals-against average in his senior season (0.513) and was named the conference’s Defender of the Year. Castanheira was invited to the MLS Combine this past January and while he was selected by FC Dallas in the Fourth Round of the MLS SuperDraft, the 6-foot-2 goalkeeper elected to join the professional ranks with ATL UTD 2, signing a deal that will likely make him the club’s first choice between the sticks this season.
All in all with the many roster moves from Atlanta United II and the change at head coach this will be a very different team from last year's squad who ended the season with a -35 goal differential. It's hard to predict what they will look like come Saturday, but wise men like El Dulce like to say "It's hard to win on the road!"
Hartford Athletic: The lads are buzzing after a successful preseason and the weight of this historic moment will not be lost on them. With our first 8 games on the road this season, it's important to pick up points where you can and Saturday is a great opportunity. My sources tell me that star goalkeeper Frederick Due will miss Saturday's contest with an injury he picked up in preseason and veteran back-up Jacob Lissek will get the start. Given how the team has lined up this preseason, this is a version of the lineup we may see Saturday night.
Dr. Nutmeg: With the way our squad has gelled over the preseason, showing its attacking prowess, I think the boys start the season off with a bang and come back from Georgia with all 3 pts – Athletic wins 2-1.
El Dulce: It's hard to win on the road, let's get that straight. With this being a fresh start for both teams, I expect the pace to be highly frenetic and up and down the pitch. That being said, there will be goals in this one. I'm going with a solid point for both sides, and a decent start to the 2019 campaign for our new boys - Athletic grab the draw 2-2
The Quants: Nate Silver and his band of quants give us the edge this week with a 41% chance of winning on Saturday as seen here.