MLS: D.C. United bid to get back on track vs. Atlanta United

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D.C. United look to end a six-match winless drought when they host another struggling club in Atlanta United on Wednesday.

In the teams’ first meeting of the season, D.C. United (4-7-7, 19 points) collected a 3-2 win in Atlanta on May 11. D.C. United is 0-4-2 since that match, however.

Last Saturday’s 1-0 loss at Charlotte FC saw D.C. United post season lows in both total shots (six) and shots on target (one).

“This group is so close to realizing the objectives that we want, and when you don’t realize it and some similar mistakes crop up, it’s easy to probably get dejected and it’s easy to get down and stop fighting,” D.C. coach Troy Lesesne told the Washington Post. “That’s just not the case with this team. … This team showed a ton of fight, a ton of heart.”

It isn’t surprising that the club’s slump has coincided with a relative dip in form for Christian Benteke. The star forward’s hat trick on May 11 boosted his goal total to 11 in his first 10 matches of the season. He has failed to score in five of the six matches during D.C. United’s winless streak.

Both teams are playing with thin rosters due to injuries and international absences, although Atlanta (4-8-5, 17 points) might have Tyler Wolff and Stian Rode Gregersen back healthy Wednesday.

The Five Stripes parted ways with Giorgos Giakoumakis last Sunday, announcing a transfer deal to send the striker to Cruz Azul of Liga MX. Giakoumakis led Atlanta United in scoring in both the 2023 season (17 goals) and this season (five goals).

“I don’t think about what’s missing, I just think about what we have here and how we can maximize what we have,” interim head coach Rob Valentino said. … We all have to do just a little bit better. Do our jobs but do them a little bit better.”

In Valentino’s first match as interim coach, Atlanta earned a 2-2 draw with Houston Dynamo FC last Saturday. The Five Stripes are 1-6-5 in their last 12 matches.

–Field Level Media

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