Atlanta United midfielder Carlos Carmona (14) looks to pass while being defended by Toronto FC midfielder Michael Bradley (4) during a MLS game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, in Atlanta. BRANDEN CAMP/SPECIAL
Photo: Branden Camp
Photo: Branden Camp

Atlanta United: Key games

A look at five key games for Atlanta United this season:

D.C. United, March 11, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium: It’s just the season’s second game but anyone who follows the Five Stripes knows that the team dropped nine points in three games last season to a D.C. United team that was among the worst in the league. It should be improved this season after numerous offseason additions, including former Atlanta United standout Yamil Asad. It wasn’t just that Atlanta United lost all three times. Outside of the opening 15 minutes in their first meeting in which Atlanta United could have led by as many as three goals, the team didn’t look good against D.C. United in the remaining 255 minutes. Picking up three points in this game may give the Five Stripes a huge boost of confidence.

Orlando City, May 13, at Orlando City Stadium: The first meeting last season will be remembered for the billboard bought by Atlanta United near downtown Orlando, a tactic that infuriated the Lions’ supporters. The two teams played well until Hector Villalba scored the MLS goal of the year with a long-range striker with just a few minutes remaining to secure all three points and continue Orlando City’s tailspin into its second consecutive playoff-less season.

NYCFC, June 9, at Yankee Stadium: This was probably the scene of Atlanta United’s worst performance this season. The result was a 3-1 loss that wasn’t as close as the scoreline. Playing on a field that MLS says meets its minimum standards (but really doesn’t according to many who have played on it), and without Josef Martinez (injury) and Asad (suspension), Atlanta United was outshot 16-8 overall, 11-4 on target.

Toronto, August 4, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium: The reigning MLS champs will be in town. The teams split their two meetings last season by the same 2-2 result. While the first draw was a good result because Atlanta United was without Martinez, the second cost the Five Stripes the second seed and a bye in the playoffs. The dagger was Sebastian Giovinco’s free kick from more than 25 yards in the 84th minute. Giovinco and Jozy Altidore are back. It should be another great game.

Toronto, Oct. 28, at BMO Field: Why Toronto twice? Because, just as it was last season, playoff seeding could again be on the line in the regular-season finale.

2018 ATLANTA UNITED SCHEDULE 

(Home games in BOLD) 
MARCH 
Saturday, March 3, 3:30 p.m., Univision: at Houston Dynamo
Sunday, March 11, 3 p.m., ESPN: vs. D.C. United 
Saturday, March 17, 7:30 p.m., FSSO: vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC 

APRIL 
Sunday, April 1, 2 p.m., FSSO: at Minnesota United
Saturday, April 7, 5 p.m., ESPN: vs. LAFC 
Sunday, April 15, 6 p.m., FS1: vs. New York City FC 
Saturday, April 21, 10:30 p.m., FSSO: at LA Galaxy
Saturday, April 28, 1 p.m., FSSO: vs. Montreal Impact 

MAY 
Saturday, May 5, 6 p.m., FSSO: at Chicago Fire
Wednesday, May 9, 7:30 p.m., FSSO: vs. Sporting Kansas City 
Sunday, May 13, 6 p.m., FS1: at Orlando City SC
Sunday, May 20, 7 p.m., FS1: vs. New York Red Bulls 
Wednesday, May 30, 7:30 p.m., FSSO: at New England Revolution

JUNE 
Saturday, June 2, 7 p.m., FSSO: vs. Philadelphia Union 
Saturday, June 9, 12:30 p.m., FSSO: at New York City FC
Wednesday, June 13, 7:30 p.m., FSSO: at Columbus Crew SC
Sunday, June 24, 4:30 p.m., Fox: vs. Portland Timbers 
Saturday, June 30, 7 p.m., ESPN: vs. Orlando City SC 

JULY 
Wednesday, July 4, 8 p.m., FSSO: at FC Dallas
Saturday, July 7, TBD, FSSO: at Philadelphia Union
Sunday, July 15, 2 p.m., Fox: vs. Seattle Sounders FC 
Saturday, July 21, 3:30 p.m., Univision: vs. D.C United 
Saturday, July 28, 7:30 p.m., FSSO: at Montreal Impact

AUGUST 
Saturday, Aug. 4, 4 p.m., ESPN: vs. Toronto FC 
Sunday, Aug. 19, 4 p.m., FSSO: vs. Columbus Crew SC 
Friday, Aug. 24, 8 p.m., ESPN: at Orlando City SC

SEPTEMBER 
Sunday, Sept. 2, 5:30 p.m., FS1: at D.C. United
Saturday, Sept. 15, 3:30 p.m., UniMas: at Colorado Rapids
Wednesday, Sept. 19, 10:30 p.m., FSSO: at San Jose Earthquakes
Saturday, Sept. 22, 7 p.m., FSSO: vs. Real Salt Lake 
Sunday, Sept. 30, 1 p.m., ESPN: at New York Red Bulls

OCTOBER 
Saturday, Oct. 6, 3:30 p.m., Univision: vs. New England Revolution 
Saturday, Oct. 21, TBD, FSSO: vs. Chicago Fire 
Sunday, Oct. 28, 4:30 p.m., FSSO: at Toronto FC

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