Atlanta United Vs FC Cincinnati - Prediction, Betting Odds & Picks

  • Who is the goalscoring substitute of Atlanta United’s injured marquee striker?
  • Cincinnati could face similar complications if a vital attacking figure is unavailable
  • The likelihood of a pragmatic approach from Cincinnati’s new manager

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What Atlanta United vs FC Cincinnati
Where ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex (Bay Lake, Florida)
When Thursday, July 16th at 9:00 AM ET
How to watch Watch on ESPN here!

Both Atlanta United and FC Cincinnati have had some questionable starts to the MLS Is Back tournament.

Coming off a 1-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls, Atlanta seemed to run out of ideas as they controlled possession but failed to do much with it. Coupled with the lack of injured star striker Josef Martinez, and a commendable goalkeeping performance from Red Bull’s David Jensen, Atlanta finished their tournament debut without a single goal.

Things were even worse for Cincinnati. Pinned back by the Columbus Crew, Cincinnati had extremely little to offer in a 4-0 thrashing. New manager Jaap Stam looked dumbfounded on the sidelines as his side fumbled through 90 minutes that were filled with lost possession and plenty of clearances.

Left licking their wounds, both teams will need to bounce back immediately if they hope to have a chance of securing a place in the knockout round of the MLS Is Back competition.

Atlanta United vs FC Cincinnati

Total goals Odds
Under 1.5 +335
Over 1.5 -500

Odds taken from DraftKings

How many goals will we see in this one? The odds seem to indicate that the safe bet would be to aim for the Over in this matchup, but it might be worth taking a risk and go for the Under in a game that might not see many goals…

Can Anyone Replace Josef Martinez’s Goals For Atlanta?

Without their goalscoring threat, Atlanta looked lost in their last game.

Backup striker Manuel Castro didn’t hit the target with his shots, attacking midfielder Matheus Rossetto had a little impact going forward, Ezequiel Barco couldn’t wrestle back a goal after stepping onto the field and Adam Jahn failed to have the same tenacity that Josef Martinez would typically bring.

Were it not for Gonzalo Martinez doing his best to pull the strings, things could have been much worse for Atlanta’s already disappointing attack.

But he can’t do it alone. Someone needs to step for an Atlanta team that could find themselves scoreless once again this week.

How Can You Fix Cincinnati’s Frontline?

Cincinnati has a fair share of their own attacking problems. In a somewhat similar scenario to Atlanta, the lack of a key injured player — Jurgen Locadia — led the squad to a scoreless and dismal evening when they lost 4-0 to rivals Columbus Crew last week.

Their xG (expected goals) total, a measly 0.57, indicates a team that was far from finding the back of the net in their first MLS Is Back match. Those numbers might not get any better against Atlanta either. At the time of writing, Locadia is still doubtful to play this week due to his thigh injury.

And without Locadia, the question of “who will score for Cincinnati” remains. Let’s see if other less-than-exciting options like Adrien Regattin or Brandon Vazquez can get the job done.

Jaap Stam’s Potential Approach Against Atlanta

Stam attempted to play from the back in his first match as Cincinnati manager, and for lack of better phrasing, it was simply awful. His roster isn’t capable of pulling this off just yet, and as they went about this style, Columbus threw numbers forward and collected four goals.

The answer here is clear: Bolster the defense, ditch playing out from the back, and aim for a narrow win against a heavy-hitting Atlanta United squad. Controlling possession is also key here for frustrating the opposition.

It may not be the most exciting blueprint for success and one that leads to fewer goalscoring chances, but it might be the safest for Stam in the early days of his tenure with Cincinnati.

Our Pick

Both of their attacks have been lackluster and it would only benefit Cincinnati, the underdogs, to be more defensive and practical in their second match. Go for the Under.

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Cesar Hernandez

Expert on Soccer

Freelance writer Cesar Hernandez is a specialist in all things American and Mexican soccer. He has written for ESPN FC, The Athletic, The Guardian, FourFourTwo, VICE Sports and several other publications. Along with writing and previous radio appearances on the BBC, talkSPORT and SiriusXM FC, Cesar is also a member of the Mexican Soccer Show podcast. Email: [email protected]