Eales: Win needed against dangerous Columbus team

The Morning Show w/ John & Hugh
August 17, 2018 - 9:58 am

© Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports


Atlanta United is back in action Sunday afternoon after some much needed time off. President Darren Eales joined John Fricke and Randy McMichael to talk about the team's matchup against Columbus Crew SC at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Atlanta United comes off the break with the NY Red Bulls and NYC FC hot on their heels in the Eastern Conference of the Supporters' Shield. The race to the playoffs begins Sunday against Columbus SC. United currently sits first in the Eastern Conference. But the season hasn't been without its fair share of injuries. Will we see those players back by the time the postseason rolls around?

"We're hopeful that we got players like Darlington Nagbe who can hopefully come back by the end of the season; [same with] Greg Garza. I feel like we're in a good place now. [Injuries] happen. That's why I think the depth we have this year definitely puts us in a better position than last year."

Striker Josef Martinez is one goal shy of breaking MLS single-season goal reacord, and is in fact on pace to shatter that record (currently 26 goals this season). With that said, Martinez is scoring at least once a game, leaving other players to assist on goals or not score at all. Is there a desire to see other guys start to put the ball in the net to take some of the pressure off Josef, or at least take the double team off of him?

"No, I don't think so. We're the top scoring team in the league. Even if you take away Josef's goals, we've got 50 goals and counting. To be honest, if it's Josef scoring it, great. We know that Miggy can get the goals. We know Tito can score when given the opportunity. I think we've got enough fire power all over the place."

It was back in June that United last faced the Crew, ending in a 2-0 win. Before that, Columbus ousted Atlanta from playoff contention. No question that has added fuel to the fire every time these teams matchup. What challenge does this year's Columbus team present on Sunday?

"They're a dangerous team. One thing I will say is: they're a team that tries to play football. They try to play it from the back and for us, in terms of teams that we play against, that'll be novel. Quite a lot of teams sit back. I do think they're a team that is dangerous but if we're on our game, we've got a good chance to match them goal for goal, and hopefully get that big win we need."