Atlanta United are out to defend their title this season. The Five Stripes were incredible throughout 2018, and it culminated in Atlanta United knocking off the Portland Timbers for an MLS championship in just their second year. They are off to a rocky start this year, but they are heavy favorites coming into their match with expansion club FC Cincinnati. FC Cincinnati are looking for their first win as an MLS franchise, and they would love to knock off the defending champions.
Don't miss the Major League Soccer action from Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta at 5 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 10, 2019. Catch every moment of the match live on ESPN.
MLS Betting Odds at BookMaker.eu
Atlanta United -221
FC Cincinnati +546
It didn’t take long for FC Cincinnati to score their first goal. Leonardo Bertone etched his name into Queen City lore by scoring the franchise’s first goal in the 13th minute of their debut match against the Seattle Sounders. For a second, it looked as if the expansion club may knock off one of the MLS’ blue blood, but the Sounders roared back with three goals before the end of the half and added a fourth late to put the game beyond Cincinnati’s reach. Cincinnati must be more sound in the back if they hope to get a result here.
Atlanta United are doing double duty at the moment. They are looking to become the first MLS team to win the CONCACAF Champions League, and while they looked strong in roaring back to beat Herediano in the Round of 16 last week, their 3-0 loss to Monterrey in the first leg of their Quarterfinal tie puts them in a significant hole. In MLS action, they were shut out 2-0 by DC United in their league opener, but they had some good chances and controlled possession despite the shutout.
Jimmy McLaughlin will miss most of the season for FC Cincinnati after tearing his ACL earlier this year, and there is no timetable for his return. Former Atlanta United defender Greg Garza and forward Emery Welshman are both questionable for this game too.
Franco Escobar is still sidelined after suffering a broken clavicle in mid-January on the side of Atlanta United. There has been no update given on when he might return.
Player to Watch
Josef Martinez smashed the MLS single-season scoring record last year. The previous record for goals scored in a year was 27 (held by three separate players), but Martinez hammered home 31 to put some distance between himself and everyone else.
He scored a brace in Atlanta United’s comeback win over Herediano in the Champions League, but he failed to convert any of his chances against either DC United or Monterrey. Martinez no longer has a dynamic playmaker like Miguel Almiron to feed him passes, but Pity Martinez looked promising in his first game with the club and they had multiple avenues of attack. He should get on the scoresheet against a Cincinnati team that looked lost in defense last week.
MLS Prop Bet – Atlanta United -1.5 +112
The Five Stripes are a much better team than FC Cincinnati, and they are going to prove it here. They will cash in on their chances this time around in front of the best home crowd in the league, and the atmosphere will be electric with the club raising a banner to the rafters. FC Cincinnati have many veterans on the roster, but there are some kids that will be a little rattled in this environment.
Free Soccer Betting Pick
I believe Martinez will score a brace here as he breaks a two-game scoring drought in a comfortable win for Atlanta.
Major League Soccer Odds: Atlanta United 3, FC Cincinnati 1
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