Interim Atlanta United head coach is hoping to see improvements from his side following their shock US Open cup exit ahead of returning to league action against CF Montreal this weekend.

The Five Stripes exited the competition at the quarter-final stage to USL side Indy Eleven, as Nick Firmino’s late strike proved only to be a consolation.

Atlanta come into the game off the back of consecutive defeats in the MLS, the latest of which came against Real Salt Lake at America First Field.

Just a point separates the two sides in the Eastern Conference table, with Atlanta sitting in 10th place, a point ahead of their opponents.

Valentino is hoping to see an improvement in the attacking areas from his players as they aim to return to winning ways in the MLS.

"When we have a team within their own box, we have to move very quickly and have some quality with it," said Valentino. "We’ve talked about different areas where we can attack, yeah sure, but from there we have to have a little bit more quality in how we execute in the final third"

"But even tonight, at the very end when we get an own goal at the very end, and I said to them just try to get one. If you can get one goal, it means you are still pushing and still trying to be in the game, and they did.

"They had two chances, and they ended up getting one. You have to keep going, no one is going to feel sorry for us, and I think that is sort of the message to me."

Montreal, meanwhile, snatched a late point in their last league fixture against Vancouver Whitecaps as Matias Coccaro struck late for the hosts.

Laurent Courtois’ side have endured an indifferent run of results of late, winning two of their last eight matches, four of which have ended in a draw.

Montreal sit 11th in the Eastern Conference standings, and know a victory will see them leapfrog their opponents while also bridging the gap between the sides at the bottom of the table.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

CF Montreal – Sunusi Ibrahim

Sunusi Ibrahim is Montreal’s top scorer this season with six goals from 21 league appearances and will be hopeful of ending his dry spell in front of his home supporters.

Ibrahim has failed to find the back of the net in his last four outings, having recorded six goal contributions (five goals, one assist) in seven appearances beforehand.

Atlanta United – Daniel Rios

Rios has been in fine form for Atlanta of late, and he will be keen to influence proceedings once again at the Stade Saputo.

The Mexican has been involved in six of the Five Stripes’ last nine MLS goals (four goals, two assists), recording at least one goal contribution in each of his last four MLS appearances. 

MATCH PREDICTION: DRAW

Both sides come into the encounter searching for a much-needed victory in an attempt to get their respective seasons back on track.

Atlanta have won only three of its last 17 league matches (D6 L8), including losing the last two in a row. The Five Stripes have managed only two clean sheets in that time.

Montreal are enduring a similar run to their opponents in the MLS. They have won only two of their last 17 matches in all competitions (D8 L7). Montreal, however, are unbeaten in six games at home (W2 D4).

The Five Stripes do edge the head-to-head meetings, having won seven of their previous 13 all-time meetings (D3 L3), though they have struggled at the Stade Saputo. Only two of their victories have come in Montreal.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

CF Montreal – 39.7%

Draw – 26.6%

Atlanta United – 33.7%

New England Revolution head coach Caleb Porter has challenged his team to bounce back from their heavy defeat last time out when they host Atlanta United on Wednesday.

The Revs' four-match unbeaten streak in MLS was ended by a 5-1 thrashing at the hands of Columbus Crew at the weekend.

Their recent run has lifted them off the foot of the Eastern Conference and kept them in the hunt for what looked to be an unlikely playoff place.

Porter is confident his team can quickly put the weekend's disappointment behind them.

"You can't lose to teams that are in around you and give them points," Porter said. "They are in the hunt with us for the playoffs, so it's really important we bounce back.

"We still have confidence. We know we're a good team, and it has to be the next game. This next game against Atlanta is vitally important for us to get three points. We are really hungry to make the playoffs. It was not a great start to the year, and we're really looking to fix that.

"I reminded the guys that we won four in a row. We're playing really well, and we can't forget about that. But we do need to use this last game as a little bit of a wake-up call and to continue to remind ourselves that we have to keep improving."

Meanwhile, Atlanta are on a five-game unbeaten streak of their own after a 2-1 win over Toronto FC.

They sit five places and five points above New England, and they will be aiming to extend their run to keep the pressure on the teams above them.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

New England Revolution – Emmanuel Boateng

Emmanuel Boateng scored his second goal of the season in New England's defeat to Columbus Crew on Saturday.

He has now scored two goals in each of his four seasons with the Revs, with seven of the eight total goals being scored at home.

Atlanta United – Jamal Thiare

Jamal Thiare's winning goal in the 97th minute for Atlanta on Saturday was the sixth match-winning goal scored in the sixth minute of stoppage time or later this season in MLS, equaling the total from all of last season.

MATCH PREDICTION: NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION WIN

New England's six-match unbeaten run against Atlanta ended with a 4-1 road loss on March 9. The Revs have won three straight home matches against Atlanta after not winning any of the first three meetings in Foxborough (D2 L1).

However, New England's four-match winning streak ended with a 5-1 home defeat to the Crew on Saturday. It was the first time the Revs allowed five goals in a home match since a 5-1 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes in August 2001.

Atlanta are unbeaten in five straight away matches in all competitions (W2 D3), the second-longest road unbeaten run in club history behind only a seven-match streak in March-June 2018.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

New England Revolution – 42.3%

Draw – 26.7%

Atlanta United – 31.3%

St. Louis City must use this week's home clash with Atlanta United to turn things around after seven games without a victory, says defender Anthony Markanich.

St. Louis were thrashed 3-0 by the Colorado Rapids in midweek to extend their miserable run of form, with their last victory coming against the Chicago Fire back on May 12.

They have slipped to 12th in the Western Conference standings after topping the pile in their first campaign in MLS in 2023, and Markanich says they need to harness the support they receive at CITYPARK.

"I think every home game should be a win," Markanich said. "These next two games are very important."

Reflecting on their midweek defeat, head coach Bradley Carnell said: "At the moment, we can have certain things not going our way. We're not looking for excuses or for help, we have to help ourselves out of this situation. 

"I'm confident in my group that we can do that. It's not been what we were looking for and we know we can do better."

Atlanta, meanwhile, have won back-to-back matches to rise to ninth in the Eastern Conference, looking revitalised under interim head coach Rob Valentino.

Thiago Almada scored their winner against D.C. United last time out, leading Valentino to heap praise upon the 2022 World Cup winner.

"He ends up showing his quality, that's what he's there for," Valentino said of Almada.

"He works hard in training to do that, whether he's got pressure on him or not. As a staff we try to take the pressure off everyone in the group and let them go out and enjoy their football."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

St. Louis City – Joao Klauss

Klauss' five goals in MLS this year are more than any other St. Louis player, while only Celio Pompeu and Eduard Lowen (three apiece) have bettered his two assists among his team-mates.

Atlanta United – Thiago Almada 

Almada scored the only goal of the match from outside the box in Atlanta's win over D.C. United on Wednesday, his 12th career MLS goal from outside the area, four more than any other player since he joined the league in 2022.

MATCH PREDICTION – DRAW 

This will be the first ever meeting between St. Louis and Atlanta. The hosts are winless in four straight games on their own turf for the first time in club history.

Atlanta, meanwhile, have recorded back-to-back road wins for the first time in almost three years, since victories over the Columbus Crew and D.C. back in August 2021.

The Five Stripes had drawn four of their previous five away matches across all competitions, though, and another draw could be on the cards here.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

St. Louis City – 37%

Atlanta United – 36.6%

Draw – 26.4%

Atlanta United interim head coach Rob Valentino is hoping to get off to a positive start when they welcome Houston Dynamo to the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Atlanta announced on June 3 that they had parted ways with Gonzalo Pineda, with Valentino stepping into his shoes with the Five Stripes sitting 13th in the Eastern Conference.

They have won just one of their last 11 matches in the MLS – beating Inter Miami 3-1 – but defeat to Charlotte FC last time out spelt the end for Pineda.

"I want to get back to that enjoyment," Valentino said. "How we can find that every day, on and off the field - and shared success.

"When you look at teams and organizations, it is not one person's fault, it is shared in terms of where we are. There is that responsibility and accountability.

"But on the other side of it, I want there to be shared success. We really want to enjoy the day-to-day. I think that is going to be the message going forward from myself."

Meanwhile, Houston are seventh in the Western Conference after losing just two of their seven matches before the mid-season break.

Having ended their scoreless run in May, head coach Ben Olsen is keen to ensure their good run in front of goal continues.

"Even on the road, we're putting up numbers," said Olsen. "We're constantly working to fine-tune some things and push the guys in making real actions and moving with conviction in the final third.

"[Not scoring] was a frustrating period for us, so now, hopefully, the goal stays big for us. There's a lot still to be desired, but I'm looking forward to being back at work."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Atlanta United – Thiago Almada

Almada scored his fourth goal of the campaign in Atlanta's defeat to Charlotte FC last time out, making him joint-second in the team’s scoring charts this season. He is now just one behind top scorer Giorgos Giakoumakis.

Houston Dynamo – Sebastian Kowalczyk

Kowalczyk has scored in consecutive games for the Dynamo after having found the net just once in his first 21 career MLS matches. Kowalczyk is the third Dynamo player to score in consecutive appearances this season after Latif Blessing, Ibrahim Aliyu.

MATCH PREDICTION: ATLANTA UNITED WIN

The home side has won all three meetings between Atlanta and Houston. The home side have outscored the visitors 13-1 in the three games, with the hosts scoring at least four times in all three meetings.

However, Atlanta have lost a club-record five straight regular-season home matches. Prior to this run, Atlanta had never lost more than two consecutive home league games before.

Since moving to the Western Conference in 2015, the Dynamo have managed just five wins in 41 away matches against Eastern foes (D9 L27). Since the start of the 2019 season, Houston have lost 14 of 19 away matches against the East (W2 D3).

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Atlanta United – 44%

Draw – 26.8%

Houston Dynamo – 29.2%

Gonzalo Pineda is hoping Atlanta United can use their win over high-flying Inter Miami as a turning point ahead of Charlotte FC's visit on Sunday.

The Five Stripes beat Lionel Messi's Miami 3-1 in midweek, snapping a nine-match winless streak in the MLS in the process.

It means they move closer to the playoff places in the Eastern Conference, and Pineda is confident they can positively build on this result.

"I really want to [use the Miami win as a turning point]," Pineda said.

"I want to find the right words and connection with them individually, collectively, so we can make that big, big victory our turning point in our season and in three or four months, we can look to Miami and say it was the important one.

"That's when we came back to who we are. I hope that happens, but we have to focus on the next one.

"It's massively important [to win at home] because we haven't won there in a while. I think our fans deserve to have some joy on Sunday and I hope we can give them that."

Charlotte's five-match unbeaten run came to an end against New York Red Bulls on Wednesday, with their 3-1 defeat also the first time they have conceded since the start of that run.

Dean Smith is aware of the rivalry between the two clubs' supporters and wants to use it to give his players an added incentive.

"Derbies are really important because bragging rights are everything," said Smith.

"We're a young club still, we'll build up those rivalries, but the players will be aware of it - I'll make them aware of it - because it's important to our supporters."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Atlanta – Saba Lobjanidze

Lobjanidze scored his first career MLS brace in Atlanta's win over Miami on Wednesday. It was the 48th multi-goal game by an Atlanta player in a regular-season league match, more than any other team since they joined the league in 2017.

Charlotte – Ben Bender

Bender scored his first goal of the 2024 season on Wednesday after scoring three times in 2022 and 2023 for Charlotte. The American is the first player to score in all three MLS seasons for Charlotte FC.

MATCH PREDICTION: ATLANTA UNITED WIN

Atlanta ended a nine-match regular-season winless run (D4 L5) with a 3-1 win at Miami on Wednesday. The Five Stripes return home, where they have lost four consecutive league matches after having never previously lost three in a row at home.

Meanwhile, Charlotte saw their five-match unbeaten run come to an end with a 3-1 loss to the Red Bulls on Wednesday. Still, Charlotte's 22 points through 16 games are their most at this stage of a season in club history.

The four all-time meetings between Atlanta and Charlotte have been split with each team winning twice, once at home and once on the road. Both teams won at home in the 2022 season before winning on each other's field in the 2023 season.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Atlanta – 48.2%

Draw – 25.9%

Charlotte – 25.9%

Gonzalo Pineda remains confident things will turn for Atlanta United after nine MLS games without a victory, as the Five Stripes prepare to visit Inter Miami on Wednesday.

Atlanta sit 12th in the Eastern Conference, 21 points adrift of pacesetters Miami, after failing to win any of their last nine matches since the start of April (four draws, five defeats).

Sporting Kansas City (two) are the only team in MLS to earn fewer than the four points Atlanta have picked up in that span.

However, Pineda believes the fact Atlanta are still creating chances is a major positive, saying Thiago Almada's return to full fitness will surely lead to an upturn.

Speaking after Saturday's 1-0 defeat to Los Angeles FC, he said: "I'm very confident in the team, honestly. 

"Once again I thought we created some big chances, and we didn't have Thiago available for more than 30 minutes. With that, we have our backline being stable again and we'll have our best attacking pieces together again.

"That's the confidence I have. We're creating chances and we just need to be a little bit more clinical."

Miami, meanwhile, continued their strong form with a 2-1 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps last time out, despite Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Sergio Busquets all being rested.

While Messi's absence infuriated many of the 55,000 fans present in Vancouver, coach Gerardo Martino says it was important to give the Argentina great a breather, and he is expected to feature on Wednesday.

"It must be stressed that he has played a lot of minutes this season, so we had to find a moment to give him a break and to rest him for a match," Martino said of Messi.

"In this specific case, the trip to Vancouver made the most sense. We understand people's frustrations, especially because of the desire these fans have to see these players. 

"But as coaches, we have to make these decisions that are uncomfortable and that will frustrate people. Ultimately we have to look after our players and the team."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Inter Miami – Leonardo Campana

Prior to missing last week's trip to Vancouver, Messi had gone consecutive starts without a goal contribution for the second time since joining Miami last year. 

Fortunately for the Herons, Campana has stepped up, hitting back-to-back winners against D.C. United and the Whitecaps. He has four goals in MLS this term, despite only making six starts.

Atlanta United – Brooks Lennon

No Atlanta player has recorded more key passes in MLS this year than Lennon's 33, a tally only Almada can match. 

If the Five Stripes are to end their dismal run of form, he could have a key role to play.

MATCH PREDICTION – INTER MIAMI WIN

Atlanta are winless in 13 straight away matches in all competitions (seven draws, six defeats), and have now managed just four wins in their last 43 road games.

Miami, meanwhile, are unbeaten in their last 10 MLS matches, winning seven of the last eight. They even showed they can cope without Messi on Saturday, recording just their third win in 14 matches without the Argentine since his arrival last July (five draws, six losses).

Miami have never lost a home game against Atlanta, winning four and drawing two versus them, including winning each of the teams' last three clashes in Fort Lauderdale.

The only road win in the 12-match history of the teams' series was a 2-1 victory for the Herons at Atlanta in September 2020.

Martino's team enter Wednesday's game as big favourites, regardless of the status of their stars.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Inter Miami – 51.2%

Atlanta United – 25.7%

Draw – 23.1%

Gonzalo Pineda insists Atlanta United "are on the right path" as they look to get back to winning ways in MLS.

The Five Stripes are 12th in the Eastern Conference following a run of eight matches without victory.

Although, they enjoyed a reprieve in the U.S. Open Cup last time out, defeating Charleston Battery on penalties to reach the quarter-finals.

And Pineda hopes his side can build on that momentum when they welcome Los Angeles to the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. 

"I think we are on the right path," he said. "I think it is really encouraging for the team, for the mentality of the team, to win. 

"There are many positives out of that. We have to hold onto that positivity, and the mentality of the players that fought and put that together on Saturday."

"I think that, especially being at home, we need to make sure we are on the front foot right away," midfielder Dax McCarty added.

"Obviously, our stadium is such a fortress. When you score an early goal, you get everyone excited and the other team feels that pressure, which is such a benefit."

By contrast, LAFC are fifth in the West and on a four-match winning streak across all competitions – during which they have scored 11 goals and conceded just once.

"The team is in a good way – winning games, scoring goals and not conceding – and we'd like to continue that," head coach Steve Cherundolo said.

"We feel good about the moment we're in, and our players are confident. 

"The players have shown an amazing response [to their defeat by San Jose Earthquakes at the start of the month]. We were shooting ourselves in the foot by making some mistakes in portions of the field where we don't usually do that.

"The message was that we are really in control of our own destiny, which is a great place to be."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Atlanta United – Thiago Almada

Atlanta will be hoping for inspiration from the likes of Almada as they look to end their winless streak.

The Argentina international has scored in two of their last three league games on home soil.

Los Angeles FC – Denis Bouanga

Bouanga scored both goals in LAFC’s 2-0 win over St. Louis City last time out in MLS.

He has now found the net 33 times since the start of last season (including play-offs), seven more than any other player during that time.

MATCH PREDICTION: LOS ANGELES FC

Only once in their MLS history have Atlanta endured a longer winless streak, going 12 straight games without victory between May and August 2021.

Meanwhile, LAFC have won successive games to nil for the first time during the regular season since August 2022.

That came after they recorded just one victory while keeping a clean sheet in their previous 21 such matches.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Atlanta United: 38.2%
Los Angeles FC: 32.8%
Draw: 29.0%

Gian Piero Gasperini and Ademola Lookman both cherished creating Atalanta history after ending Bayer Leverkusen's unbeaten run and securing Europa League glory.

Lookman produced a performance worthy of the most important European moment in Atalanta's history, securing the club's first-ever major trophy on the continent after his dazzling hat-trick.

The Nigeria winger is just the sixth player to manage a treble in a major UEFA final and the first since Jupp Heynckes’ for Borussia Mönchengladbach against Twente in 1975.

Lookman will be the toast of Bergamo when Gasperini's side head home, boasting their first trophy in 61 years – after the Coppa Italia – following a 3-0 triumph to end Leverkusen's 51-game unbeaten run.

"One of the best nights of my life," the hat-trick hero told TNT Sports in Dublin.

"Amazing performance from the team, we did it, we did it, we did it! I haven't got much else to say, but fantastic."

Lookman is also just the second player to score a treble for an Italian side in the final of a major European competition, after Pierino Prati for Milan against Ajax in the 1969 European Cup

Preparing to leave the Aviva Stadium with the Europa League trophy in hand, Lookman could not wait to celebrate a seismic moment in the club's history.

"We've got to celebrate, we made history tonight," he added.

Gasperini, aged 66 years and 117 days on Wednesday, is the oldest coach to win his debut major European final, and the second Italian coach to win the Europa League after Maurizio Sarri in 2019.

The veteran Atalanta mastermind echoed Lookman's sentiment, after securing just a second trophy in the Italian club's history.

"I think we wrote history, also for the way we won it," said Gasperini, speaking to UEFA's official media channels.

"It was just extraordinary, we defeated Liverpool, Sporting who won the championship. When we faced Liverpool they were first in the Premier League... And now the German champions.

"Incredible. The boys were extraordinary, a memorable performance."

Pat Noonan will not let his FC Cincinnati team get too high following Saturday's memorable win over their rivals Columbus Crew, warning Atlanta United will offer them a stern test on Wednesday.

Cincinnati recorded a huge 2-1 road win over the MLS Cup holders last time out, with Kevin Kelsy and Luciano Acosta on target.

That victory – their fourth in a row – kept them three points behind Inter Miami at the Eastern Conference summit, but Noonan says any drop-off in midweek will be punished.

"The sign of a good team is when you have a poor performance or result, how do you respond to it and come back and have a better performance, or have a better result?" Noonan said.

"On the other side, when you have a good performance, how do you respond to that? Obviously, we have a short turnaround against a difficult opponent who we've just seen.

"If we don't turn it around the right way and if we're not prepared for Atlanta, we'll get humbled very quickly. Just like we can't get too low with bad performances, we can't get too high."

Atlanta, meanwhile, are 12 points behind Cincinnati in 10 th place, having been beaten 3-2 by D.C. United on Saturday.

They also lost 2-1 to Cincinnati when the sides last met in April, with two goals in two second-half minutes handing the Orange and Blue a comeback victory.

Asked what he would look to change ahead of Wednesday's rematch, boss Gonzalo Pineda said: "Simplify the message. It's about putting the players in a position to succeed, giving them tools, and the message that sometimes less is more."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

FC Cincinnati – Luciano Acosta

Acosta has scored in four consecutive games, tied for the longest goalscoring streak in MLS play in Cincinnati's history.

He also had a four-game streak last June while Brandon Vazquez did so between July and August in 2022. Will he break new ground on Wednesday?

Atlanta United – Thiago Almada

Almada scored from the penalty spot against D.C. last time out, with one of his five shots in the game.

He has recorded five MLS games this year with at least five attempts at goal, with only Denis Bouanga (eight) and Lionel Messi (six) having more. He also netted his team's only goal when they last faced Cincinnati on April 20.

MATCH PREDICTION – FC CINCINNATI WIN

Atlanta are unbeaten in five all-time trips to Cincinnati in MLS, recording two wins and three draws there. Cincinnati are the only team the Five Stripes have visited more than twice without ever losing in MLS play.

However, Atlanta have only won two of their last 23 away games in all competitions (10 draws, 11 defeats) in a run dating back to late March 2023. No MLS team has fewer away wins in all competitions in that time.

Cincinnati have won their last four games and could set a new team record for successive victories here. With home advantage on their side, they are favourites to do so.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

FC Cincinnati: 45.4%
Atlanta United: 26.9%
Draw: 27.7%

Gonzalo Pineda hopes his Atlanta United side's 3-0 win over the Charlotte Independence in the US Open Cup on Tuesday gives them confidence after a tricky recent run.

Atlanta had gone five MLS games without a win prior to Tuesday's victory, leaving them 10th in the Eastern Conference after 10 matches.

However, with his side now heading into a home game against D.C. United off the back of a dominant display, Pineda is hoping that will spur his players onto better things in the league.

"When you win and have a solid performance like we did today, that brings confidence to the players," Pineda told reporters.

"I think at times there are certain games like this that can be a game changer or system changer."

Meanwhile, D.C. have only won one of their last five outings themselves and are just two points and a place above Atlanta having played a game more.

D.C. appeared to be on their way to victory against the Philadelphia Union last weekend, but they let a two-goal lead slip to instead be held to a draw.

Despite letting the Union escape with a point, D.C. head coach Troy Lesesne believes it was still an impressive showing.

"It may have been our best performance of the year," Lesesne said. "I'm very proud of what we put together.

"At the end of the season, this will be a point against a really good side."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Atlanta United – Giorgos Giakoumakis

Giakoumakis attempted six shots against Minnesota United last weekend with all of them coming from inside the box. Giakoumakis has averaged 4.1 shots in the box per 90 minutes this season, the highest rate in MLS (min. 400 minutes), and he will be hoping to add to his impressive tally of five goals in seven MLS appearances this Saturday.

D.C. United – Christian Benteke

Benteke has already netted eight MLS goals so far this season and is very much on course to beat his output of 14 that he managed last term. He is a constant threat in attack for D.C., and Atlanta will have to keep a watchful eye on the former Liverpool man.

MATCH PREDICTION – ATLANTA WIN

Atlanta have suffered consecutive regular season home losses for the first time since July 2021. This is only the club's fourth two-match home losing streak in regular season play as they've never lost three in a row at home.

Meanwhile, D.C. lost a two-goal lead in their 2-2 draw with the Union. D.C. have dropped 12 points from winning positions this season, tied for the second most in the league this season (Sporting Kansas City – 14).

D.C. are winless in 10 straight away matches in all competitions dating back to early August, and Atlanta could extend that poor run by taking the three points on Saturday.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Atlanta: 55.2%

D.C.: 19.8%

Draw: 25%

Orlando Arcia drilled a three-run homer in the 10th inning and the Atlanta Braves won their sixth straight game, 4-1 over the Los Angeles Dodgers in a matchup of the National League’s best teams.

With the initial runner at second, Alex Vesia got the first two outs of the 10th but walked Sean Murphy before Arcia sent a first-pitch fastball over the left-centre field wall for his 17th home run and a 4-1 lead.

Max Muncy had a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 10th, but Raisel Iglesias struck out Amed Rosario with a runner on for his 28th save.

Major league-leading Atlanta has won the first three games of this much-anticipated series, becoming the first team to reach 90 victories.

The Braves are cruising to their sixth straight NL East title with a 16-game lead over Philadelphia.

Ronald Acuna Jr. opened the scoring in the third inning with his third home run of this series and 32nd of the season.

The Dodgers got the run back in the bottom half when Austin Barnes doubled, moved to third on two walks and scored on a double-play grounder.

Bryce Elder pitched six innings for the Braves and allowed one run and five hits.

Joe Jimenez, A.J. Minter and Michael Tonkin each pitched one hitless inning before Iglesias took over in the 10th.

 

Reds rally to walk-off Cubs again

Elly De La Cruz delivered a tying single and newcomer Hunter Renfroe beat out a double-play ball as the Cincinnati Reds rallied for their second straight walk-off win, 2-1 over the Chicago Cubs.

Chicago took a 1-0 lead to the ninth after a brilliant eight-inning performance from Javier Assad but Cincinnati scored twice in the ninth to win.

Jake Fraley opened the inning with a double off Mark Leiter Jr. and pinch-runner Harrison Bader stole third. After TJ Friedl walked and Spencer Steer was hit by a pitch, De Le Cruz’s hit tied it.

Nick Martini flied out to keep the bases loaded and Renfroe – claimed off waivers from the Angels earlier this week – hit a grounder to short and barely beat the throw to first, allowing the winning run to score.

 

Guardians score 2 in 11th to rally past Rays

Steven Kwan had a sacrifice fly and after a key hit by rookie Jose Tena and the Cleveland Guardians rallied for their fourth straight win, 7-6 over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Brandon Lowe gave the Rays a one-run lead in the top of the 11th with a sacrifice fly, but Chris Devenski was unable to protect it in his first appearance with the team.

With one out, Myles Straw stole third and Bo Naylor walked to put runners at the corners. Tena’s single to right tied the game and moved Naylor to third before Kwan’s fly ball to shallow right-centre scored the winning run.

The loss dropped the Rays 2 ½ games behind AL East-leading Baltimore, while the Guardians remained five games in back of Minnesota in the Central.

Atlanta United moved up to third in the MLS Eastern Conference after Maren Haile-Selassie's 99th-minute own goal helped them to a 2-1 home win over Chicago Fire on Sunday.

Chicago thought they had rescued a point from substitute Kacper Przybylko's 90th-minute strike but there was to be drama in the final minute of nine stoppage-time minutes.

Machop Chol glanced on Brooks Lennon's corner, with Juanjo Purata's poke deflecting off Haile-Selassie's back and dribbling over the goalline. The win meant Atlanta stretched their unbeaten streak to four games.

Georgios Giakoumakis had put Atlanta ahead in the 13th minute, lashing home from  Lennon's cutback.

But Chicago squared the game up from Przybylko's strike after he had been thwarted with his initial attempt, only for the hosts to find a late winner.

St Louis City snapped their two-game losing skid with a statement win where they piled on five goals within an hour in a 5-1 hammering over Eastern Conference-leading Cincinnati on Saturday.

The MLS expansion side had suffered back-to-back losses after creating league history by winning their first five games but responded at CityPark.

Jared Stroud fired in a third-minute opener from a set-piece before Eduard Lowen lashed home a volley in the 39th minute.

Kyle Hiebert glanced in Stroud's cross in first-half stoppage-time and St Louis did not relent after the break, with Nicholas Gioacchini adding another from Rasmus Alm's classy touch in the 53rd minute.

It was five in the 57th minute when Alm's rifled strike from outside the box hit the post and deflected in off goalkeeper Roman Celentano.

Sergio Santos grabbed a consolation for Cincy, who were unbeaten coming into this encounter.

Dairon Asprilla netted an early goal of the year contender with an acrobatic bicycle kick to equalise for Portland Timbers before they raced away with a 4-1 win over Seattle Sounders.

Asprilla brilliantly netted in the 71st minute before Portland added a further three goals in the final 20 minutes, meaning Seattle slipped from top spot in the West.

Sean Zawadzki netted a 90th-minute equaliser as Columbus Crew pinched a 1-1 home draw with 10-man New England, who move up to top spot in the Eastern Conference ahead of Cincinnati.

Lorenzo Insigne returned from a groin injury as Toronto drew 2-2 with Atlanta. Toronto have drawn four games in a row.

DC United ended their six-game winless run with a 1-0 victory over last-placed Montreal, while New York Red Bulls' streak without a win extended to four games after a 1-1 draw with Houston Dynamo.

Keaton Parks and Maxime Chanot scored excellent early goals as New York City moved up to fifth in the East with a 2-1 win over Nashville.

Austin drew 0-0 with Vancouver Whitecaps, while Orlando City rallied from behind to get past Minnesota United 2-1.

Bernard Kamungo scored an 88th-minute winner as Dallas moved up to fourth in the West with a 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake, while San Jose Earthquakes crushed Sporting KC 3-0 with a Jeremy Ebobisse double.

Struggling Charlotte drew 2-2 with Colorado Rapids and Philadelphia Union's winless run extended to five games with a 2-2 draw at Chicago Fire although they fought back from 2-0 down.

Denis Bouanga netted a hat-trick as reigning MLS champions LAFC claimed a statement win with a 3-0 rout of Austin on Saturday.

Bouanga opened the scoring with a low strike with five minutes left in the first half, before adding further goals in the 57th and 68th minutes.

The Gabonese winger fired in a powerful right-foot volley from a corner for 2-0, before side-footing home at the back post for the third.

The result meant LAFC kept in touch with the top two in the Western Conference, with Seattle Sounders moving above St Louis City into top spot with a 3-0 win in the late game.

The Sounders netted three second-half goals to condemn the expansion side to their second straight loss after winning their opening five MLS games.

Phil Neville's Inter Miami slumped to their fifth straight loss, going down 1-0 at home to Dallas. US international Jesus Ferreira scored the only goal in the 27th minute. Dallas moved up to fourth in the West with the victory.

Cincinnati remained top of the Eastern Conference with a 1-0 home win over Philadelphia Union, who are winless in four. New England are second in the East behind Cincy, thrashing Montreal 4-0.

Tom Barlow scored deep into stoppage time to rescue a 1-1 draw for New York Red Bulls against San Jose Earthquakes, while Colorado Rapids edged Sporting KC 1-0 on the road.

New York City and Atlanta United drew 1-1, Nashville and Toronto drew 0-0, while Columbus Crew secured their third straight win with a 2-0 victory at D United.

Kei Kamara scored a double as Chicago Fire won 2-1 over Minnesota United, while Amine Bassi also netted a brace as 10-man Houston Dynamo beat nine-man LA Galaxy 3-0.

Real Salt Lake came from behind to win 3-1 over Charlotte, while Vancouver Whitecaps beat Portland Timbers 1-0.

Expansion franchise St Louis City's perfect start to their inaugural MLS season was ended by Minnesota United who triumphed 1-0 after Luis Amarilla's 78th-minute penalty on Saturday.

City had made MLS history by winning their first five games but that was ended by the Loons with Amarilla drilling home the spot kick after a needless challenge by Kyle Hiebert.

Hiebert brought down Amarilla just inside the box with a rash tackle when Jakob Nerwinski appeared to have Kervin Arriaga's wayward pass under control.

Substitute Samuel Adeniran came closest to equalising for St Louis, with a 95th-minute shot going over the bar after a great first touch from Klauss' right-wing cut back.

St Louis remain top of the table with 15 points from six games, but unbeaten Minnesota climb up to fourth in the Western Conference.

Cincinnati continued their impressive start to the season with a 1-0 home triumph over Inter Miami who slumped to their fourth straight defeat.

Yerson Mosquera scored the 45th-minute winner for Cincy, who are top of the Eastern Conference.

Giorgos Giakoumakis scored an early winner as Atlanta United moved up to second in the East with a 1-0 home win over New York Red Bulls, who are down in 12th in that conference.

Jordan Morris and Leo Chu scored first-half goals as Seattle Sounders stayed second in the West with a 2-1 victory at LA Galaxy, who are without a win and have only three points from five games.

LAFC remained unbeaten and third in the West despite a 0-0 draw at the winless Colorado Rapids, while SJ Earthquakes climbed to fifth with a 2-1 victory over Houston Dynamo with all three goals coming from penalties.

Vancouver Whitecaps snapped a run of three straight draws with a resounding 5-0 win over 10-man Montreal with Simon Becher scoring a double. Becher is the fastest player (87 minutes) in MLS history to score his first four goals.

Franck Boli rescued a 1-1 draw for Portland Timbers at Dallas, Chicago Fire and DC United drew 0-0 and Nashville triumphed 2-0 at Orlando City.

Federico Bernardeschi netted another spectacular goal with a strike straight from a corner in Toronto's 2-2 home draw with Charlotte.

Sporting KC remained winless after a 0-0 draw at Philadelphia Union, New England drew 1-1 with New York City and Real Salt Lake suffered their fourth straight loss, going down 4-0 to Columbus Crew.

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