Sometimes games are decided by stars and sometimes they are decided by role players. Each are represented in my look at 3 players to watch as the Crew and Atlanta United do battle at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
The Crew wingback has been solid since taking over when Will Sands was lost for the season. That’s why it was so surprising to see him turn in such a subpar performance against New England Wednesday night. He struggled on defense and turned the ball over too often on offense before he was replaced in the 57th minute. Yeboah must bounce back and have a strong showing against Atlanta.
Think Lucas Zelarayan. That’s pretty much what Almada is to The Five Stripes. He has eleven goals, but leads the league in assists. He’s a playmaker and will have possession of the ball a lot. That’s why it hurt the Atlanta attack when he turned the ball over so much in their loss to Philadelphia Wednesday. If the Crew can force him into turnovers, they have an excellent chance of slowing the Atlanta offense, which has scored the second-most goals in MLS behind the Crew. But, if Almada is on his game, he’s going to be a handful for Crew defenders.
I thought Schulte played one of his better games of the season against New England. It wasn’t that he made a lot of saves-the Revs had just three shots on goal. Rather, it was the way he approached the game. Schulte was confident, decisive, and aggressive. His set piece organization was also very good. In another important road game, he needs to be that good again against Atlanta. As I said in my preview article, this is the Schulte we need to see as the Crew moves toward the playoffs.
Three players who I think will play an important role in this game’s outcome. A Crew win guarantees they will finish no worse than fifth. An Atlanta win pulls them to within one point of the Crew with one game left in the regular season.