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Know Thy Enemy: Revolution vs. Atlanta United, Part Deux

Surely the Revs will have a better performance than they did the last time they played Atlanta.

MLS: New England Revolution at Atlanta United FC Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

It seems like we talked to Haris Kruskic not to long ago, it was probably a happier time. Head on over to Dirty South Soccer for my answers to their questions as well.

TBM: Okay seriously, what were the thoughts from an Atlanta perspective on the two red cards in that last game? VAR hates Xavier Kouassi as we all know but the second red to Delamea really hurt and Atlanta took advantage as they were supposed too and gave Atlanta certainly a lot to cheer about.

DSS: I’ll just pretend like I wasn’t in an utter state of euphoria the entire match.

I think you said it. Atlanta took advantage, as they should have. I’m kind of over trying to nitpick every VAR call because it’s become too divisive at this point. What I will say is I was pretty shocked the Revs got a second red. Not because it wasn’t deserving of a red, but because you almost never see a second one given by a referee. I expected him to go easy on Delamea and show a yellow, especially since enough of an advantage was given with the penalty call.

Then again, I suppose that’s how I personally would like the game to be called. The ref should use any excuse he can to not send a player off because it lessens their team’s chance of being competitive considerably. I’m sure a lot of people would disagree with that stance though.

TBM: I think the Eastern Conference Finals will be a Toronto FC - Atlanta United matchup, tell me why I'm right and tell me why I'm wrong.

DSS: You’re right because Toronto and Atlanta have been the two best clubs in MLS all season. They’re two historically good attacking sides, with both being included in the

Top 10 list for most goals scored in a MLS season. They, for the most part, haven’t been stopped and have defenses that can do more than hold their own.

You’re wrong because it’s MLS, one of the most unpredictable leagues in the world. It doesn’t care about what a club does in the regular season.

Plus, Toronto resting their key players late in the season will prove costly as they find it difficult to regain their momentum. Sebastian Giovinco is relied on too heavily as Jozy Altidore continues to struggle and Toronto is dumped out by a resurgent Chicago Fire.

Atlanta has a different problem, as their players are still gassed from the “8 matches in 23 days” stretch they had throughout September. Tata Martino didn’t rotate enough, and it shows in the unproductive play of the attack. Not to mention that Miguel Almiron hamstring injury is deemed to be season-ending.

(For what it’s worth, Toronto and Atlanta are absolutely going to play one another in the ECF, and it’s going to be wild.)

TBM: The Revs didn't get a chance to test Brad Guzan for obvious reasons last game, but he's been doing pretty well in Atlanta or so I've heard. Is he still playing to a USMNT caliber level?

DSS: Yes. This is the best I’ve ever seen him play on a club level. Now that can obviously be a direct correlation to playing in MLS where the level of talent is a downgrade compared to the EPL, but nonetheless. He can’t help that at this point. He’s done well with the hand dealt to him.

Since he joined the club, Guzan has kept six clean sheets in eleven matches played. In comparison, Alec Kann kept four clean sheets in twenty matches. That isn’t a knock on Kann, but Guzan is so much more effective of a communicator with the backline and that’s shown through their play. That goes unnoticed a lot, but it’s a critical job of the keeper and what makes Guzan a surprisingly great signing for Atlanta. He hasn’t had to stop an insane amount of shots, but Guzan answered the call almost every single time when asked to.

Suspensions: N/A

Injuries: Miguel Almiron, Alec Kann, Zach Loyd

Lineup Prediction(4-3-3): Guzan, Garza, Pirez, Parkhurst, Walkes, Carmona, Kratz, Gressel, Asad, illalba, Martinez

Prediction: 2-1 New England