After winning the MLS Cup in only they second season, what can Atlanta United do for an encore? Much has changed since the club beat the Portland Timbers for the 2018 MLS Cup, but Atlanta United are still the favorite to win the league. They have the best forward in the game in Josef Martinez and replaced their departed stars with other talented acquisitions. Atlanta will look to get their title defense started the right way, but DC United are a strong title contender.
Don't miss the Major League Soccer action from Audi Field in Washington D.C. at 6 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 3, 2019. Catch every moment of the match live on ESPN.
MLS Betting Odds at BookMaker.eu
DC United +155
Atlanta United +162
Wayne Rooney made a huge difference upon his arrival to America’s capital. DC United had won just three games over the first half of the season, but the club was incredible over the second half of the year. They went 11-4-2 over the last half of the year to wipe out a poor start and host a playoff game.
DC United have one of the most devastating 1-2 punches in the league between Wayne Rooney and Luciano Acosta. The duo were a force to be reckoned with over the last half of the year, and with a full season ahead of them, they could take DC United back to the mountain top.
As for Atlanta United, the club must replace one of their superstars and their coach. Fortunately, they seem to have found a good fit in both regards. Miguel Almiron left for Newcastle United last month for an MLS record fee, and Atlanta wasted no time in bringing in another talent to replace him. The club signed Pity Martinez from River Plate after he was named the top player in South American soccer last year, and he will look to establish a connection with Martinez.
Additionally, Atlanta United have a new man in charge. Tata left to manage the Mexican national team at the end of the year, and he has been replaced by Frank de Boer. Bringing in de Boer was a coup as the Dutch national has managed Ajax, Inter Milan, and Crystal Palace, and he will bring a wealth of information to this young team.
Franco Escobar will miss this match for Atlanta United. He suffered a broken right clavicle in mid-January, and he is expected to miss a couple more weeks while the injury heals. D.C. United have no injuries to report coming into the first game of the season.
Matchup to Watch
This is going to be the most riveting match of opening weekend, and it will be very interesting to see how these clubs’ talented duos play off one another. Rooney and Acosta had an instant connection last year, and they will look to build on it this season. Both players are incredibly talented, but the big concern will be whether or not Rooney’s play drops off.
As for Atlanta United, they want to see how well Pity and Martinez play together. Martinez set the single-season MLS scoring record last year, and Pity was known as a fantastic playmaker at River Plate. He should have a banner year in the MLS.
MLS Prop Bet – Over 3 and 3.5 +122
It’s opening weekend, and I think both teams will let it fly. Atlanta and DC would both like to see what they have on the attack, and I believe both managers will allow their clubs to play a wide open style. That should bode well for the over.
Free Soccer Betting Pick
The draw feels like the right play. If the game was in Atlanta, I would be on the defending champions, but winning on the road over a quality team is tough.
Major League Soccer Odds: DC United 2, Atlanta United 2
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