In the other Eastern Conference Knockout Round match, No. 4 seed Atlanta United hosts Columbus Crew SC at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Thursday (7 p.m. ET, ESPN2/UniMas/TSN4/TVAS). Atlanta became just the third active MLS expansion team to make the postseason in its inaugural season, helped immensely by a 5-1-1 record at its new $1.6 billion home. Columbus will need to flip a regular season script that saw Crew SC fall 3-1 at Atlanta on June 17 followed by a 2-0 defeat at home on July 1.
Atlanta will receive a boost with the return of Miguel Almirón from injury. After missing the previous four matches, the Paraguay National Team star recorded an assist in Sunday’s match, subbing in during the 61st minute. Almirón teamed with Josef Martínez to form the second-highest scoring offensive attack in the league (70 goals), with Martínez finishing fourth in MLS with 19 goals scored.
Finishing just behind Martínez for fifth place was Crew SC forward Ola Kamara with 18 goals. This marks the second consecutive season Kamara ranks in the top five in goals scored after finishing with 16 goals in his first season with Columbus last year. Crew SC could spoil Atlanta’s first-ever playoff match after displaying a strong recent run of form, finishing the regular season with a 10-game unbeaten streak.