July 6, 2018 / 10:31 PM / a month ago

MLS-leading Atlanta looks to bounce back in Philly

Even though Atlanta United lead Major League Soccer with 37 points, coach Gerardo Martino is worried after a 3-2 loss at FC Dallas on Wednesday.

Atlanta (11-4-4, 37 points) battled the oppressive heat and was on the verge of giving Western Conference leader Dallas its first home loss of the season before conceding goals to Tesho Akindele in the 86th and 88th minutes to come away with nothing.

“I hope the loss doesn’t affect us for the next match. These kinds of losses hurt. They hurt the most when you don’t deserve to lose,” Martino said. “In our case, we did everything we could to win but ended up leaving empty handed.”

There is little time to dwell on the defeat because Atlanta travels to Chester, Pa., to play Philadelphia (6-8-3, 21 points) on Saturday.

The Union are coming off a 4-1 loss at Los Angeles FC on Saturday and are 2-3-1 in their past six games.

“We were punished by a good team for our mistakes,” Union coach Jim Curtin said. “We had some youthful mistakes, but now we’ve had a week to look at the film to digest and make some adjustments and tweaks.”

To prevent the explosive Atlanta attack from putting up a similar number like LAFC did, Curtin said winning the possession battles will be important.

“(Atlanta) is playing really well right now,” Curtin said. “They’re coming off a disappointing loss in Dallas where they put a lot into the game, but we have to do our best to limit their opportunities and it starts with being good with the ball ourselves.”

Philadelphia must be wary of Josef Martinez, who scored twice vs. Dallas to lead MLS with 17 goals, six more than Bradley Wright-Phillips of the New York Red Bulls and Gyasi Zardes of Columbus. Martinez, who has seven goals in his last nine matches, is two shy of the 19 he scored in 20 games last season, his first year in MLS.

—Field Level media

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