July 3, 2018 / 4:20 PM / 3 months ago

Expect fireworks as Atlanta United visit Dallas

Two of the top teams in the MLS look to provide some on-field fireworks when Atlanta United FC visits FC Dallas on Wednesday night in Frisco, Texas.

Eastern Conference-leading Atlanta United (11-3-4) has a league-high 37 points while FC Dallas (9-2-5, 32) is tied for first place in the Western Conference with Sporting Kansas City.

FC Dallas is unbeaten (5-0-4) at home this season and has gone 15 games overall (7-0-8) since their last setback at Toyota Stadium.

But Atlanta United owns the best road mark (5-1-2) in the league with their lone defeat (4-0) occurring in the March 3 opener against the Houston Dynamo.

Things are much different four months later and Atlanta United’s potency — the team has a league-best 38 goals — worries FC Dallas coach Oscar Pareja.

“Every team has different challenges,” Pareja told reporters. “I don’t remember really a moment where I say, ‘It’s an easy game’ or if I think the game is out of our reach. We don’t think like that. For sure, it’s a good team. For sure, they have good individuals.

“The investment that Atlanta has made into the league and their team is different from any. Maybe, they’re expecting to go and beat everybody. We believe in ourselves and we believe in what we are and we just keep pushing.”

Atlanta United forward Josef Martinez has been on a high-octane roll with seven goals in the past six games and leads the league with 15 goals.

Midfielder Miguel Almiron has contributed eight goals and seven assists and he displayed that a minor shoulder injury is a thing of the past by scoring two goals in Saturday’s 4-0 victory over Orlando City SC. He broke a nine-game goal drought with the stellar performance.

“You could tell from the first minute he was really up for it,” Atlanta United defender Michael Parkhurst told reporters. “He was sharp and I think it’s the best he’s looked since he’s had a little bit of the shoulder issue.”

FC Dallas is coming off a 1-0 victory over Minnesota United, as midfielder Roland Lamah scored the lone goal on a header. Lamah has a team-best seven goals while forward Maximiliano Urruti has six.

Urruti (18) and Lamah (17) have combined for 35 goals since the start of the 2017 season.

Atlanta United won the lone previous meeting 3-0 on Sept. 10, 2017 in Atlanta. Atlanta United put 12 shots on target while FC Dallas had just two.

—Field Level Media

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