A new Major League Soccer season is about to start and Atlanta United are among the title contenders again. However, this will not be just another season, the MLS is Back tournament will be a World Cup-style competition, with a group phase and a knockout stage, to be held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex on Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.
The Five Stripes will participate in Group E, along with the New York Red Bulls, Columbus Crew and FC Cincinnati. The top two teams of each group (except for Group A) will qualify for the Round of 16, while the next three highest-ranked teams in the group stage will also earn a spot in the next phase.
Group E (Eastern Conference)
1. Atlanta United
2. Columbus Crew SC
3. FC Cincinnati
4. New York Red Bulls
Atlanta United will begin their campaing against the New York Red Bulls on July 11th at 8PM (ET time), in which could be the most entertaining game of the group. Then, they will face FC Cincinnati on July 16 at 9AM (ET time), and will finish vs. Columbus Crew on July 21 at 8PM (ET time). According to the MLS is Back tournament odds, Atlanta are not only the favorites to win Group E, but also one of the main contenders to clinch the MLS Cup. However, it will not be easy at all without their star Josef Martínez.
Josef Martínez injury
There's no doubt that Josef Martínez's absense is a big loss for Atlanta United. The Venezuelan striker underwent successful surgery in March to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee. He sufferd the injury during the team's regular season game against Nashville SC in February.
It will not be easy to replace Matínez, considering he is one of the best players of the league and a prolific striker. Atlanta will rely on Argentine wingers Gonzalo Pity Martínez and Ezequiel Barco. Their skills and pace make them two of the most dangerous players in attack and, without Josef as a center forward, the team will need more from them.
How to watch or stream Atlanta United games
|Date||Match||Time (US ET)||TV or Stream|
|Saturday, July 11||Atlanta United vs. NY Red Bulls||8:00PM||FOX, TUDN, TUDN App|
|Thursday, July 16||Atlanta United vs. FC Cincinnati||9:00AM||ESPN, ESPN App, ESPN Deportes|
|Tuesday, July 21||Atlanta United vs. Columbus Crew||8:00PM||TUDN, TUDN app, Twitter|